The release of Mozilla’s open source Firefox 3 Beta Web browser earlier this week garnered a lot of hype surrounding its updated security features, and has prompted some in the industry to suggest enterprises take a strong look at implementing the browser.
Improvements to Firefox 3.0 include new security features, a revamped bookmarking system and various other additions to the user interface as well as a back-end platform. Some of the most significant upgrades come on the security side, as the beta release adds a malware check and a phishing filter that warns users attempting to log onto a site with suspicious code. Another feature allows users to identify who owns the particular site they are browsing.
“It’s something that enterprises really need to be considering, especially when you think about the phishing support that’s in there now,” David Humphrey, a professor teaching open source development at Toronto’s Seneca College school of computer studies, said. “I think they’ve put a lot of emphasis on security for this build and that’s one of the reasons it makes sense for an enterprise to go that route. If you’re using Internet Explorer, you’re not getting the same advantages.”
Johnathan Nightingale, Firefox’s security design lead at Mozilla, said everybody at the project feels that Firefox can fit into the security plans for all enterprises. He cited features like phishing and malware detection as appropriate for most large companies.
“Obviously IT departments will have to evaluate what it means to roll out a new piece of software just like that always do, but being in an enterprise environment, even behind the corporate firewall, it’s just as important as ever that your browser be defending you from all kinds of attacks on the Web,” Nightingale said.
The increased sophistication of online attacks, he said, might have enterprises asking themselves whether Firefox can help play a role in keeping their employees and systems safe.