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  • Keizer on Web browsers: Being the default does little good

    Posted on July 3rd, 2018 at 14:56 woody Comment on the AskWoody Lounge

    Nice bit of analysis from Computerworld’s Gregg Keizer:

    The browsers bundled with operating systems, notably Microsoft’s Edge and Apple’s Safari, fell to new lows last month as they continued to lose users, showing that being the default no longer provided a significant advantage…

    There’s no other way to put it: Edge is a flop. In the face of some significant barriers put up by Microsoft — among them a multistep process to change Windows 10’s browser default — users have clearly rejected the browser.

    Any wonder why the Timeline feature in 1803 (which only works with Edge and Office, really) just doesn’t move the needle?

  • Born: Is my browser vulnerable to Spectre attacks?

    Posted on January 11th, 2018 at 09:51 woody Comment on the AskWoody Lounge

    Günter Born has an important recap of the the test website xlab.tencent.com, which has a tool that can check to see if your browser is currently susceptible to Spectre attacks.

    The tool is from Tencent’s Xuanwu Lab, which is part of Tencent, one of the largest companies in Asia. The Xuanwu Lab is well-known in antimalware circles.

    I ran a quick check on both of my go-to browsers, Firefox 57.0.4 (64-bit) and Chrome 63.0.3239.132 (Official Build) (64-bit). Both of them came up with “Not vulnerable.”

    That’s a comforting, if ambiguous, determination. As the Tencent site says:

    However, if the result is NOT VULNERABLE, it doesn’t mean your browser is absolutely not vulnerable because there might be other unknown attacking methods.

    Which is something of a triple (quadruple?) negative, but I surmise that Firefox and Chrome aren’t susceptible to the currently published Spectre vulnerabilities.

    A quick check of the latest IE and Chrome on my Win10 1703 machine turned up Not Vulnerable as well.

    Martin Brinkmann on ghacks.net ran a similar set of tests. He says that Google Chrome Stable, Opera Stable and Vivaldi Stable all turn up Vulnerable.

    Your mileage may vary.