Category Archives: Internet Browsers

News and Information about Internet Browsers like Google Chrome, Firefox, Internet Explorer, Opera, Flock, Safari. Extensions, Add-ons, User Scripts, Tips and Tricks for all the Internet Browsers available today.

Google Releases Chrome 15.0.874.121 – Fixes High-Risk Flaws

Google has released yet another update of its Chrome browser, fixing a high-risk vulnerability in the V8 JavaScript engine.   The latest build – Chrome 15.0.874.121 is the latest stable released and is now available for download for Windows, Mac, Linux and Chrome Frame platforms.

Google Release Chrome 15.0.874.121

The issue in V8 JavaScript engine caused an error which can be exploited to read restricted memory. This can be used by attackers or hackers to execute arbitrary code in the context of the user running the browser. On successful exploit, attackers can read /obtain sensitive information, and even execute the arbitrary code in the Chrome sandbox. Failed attacks can cause denial-of-service conditions causing the browser to crash.

The browser connects to SSL servers using certificates signed with MD2 or MD4 hashing algorithms. This can be exploited by attacker to fake valid certificates if an MD2 or MD4 collision attack is successful.

The V8 issues was identified by Christian Holler, and was rewarded $1000 for finding the error under Google’s Chromium Security reward scheme.

The Chrome 15.0.874.121 also brings in a fix which an SVG element placed within an iframe would not have a specified dimension even after having the width and height assigned. The SVG elements would instead take the maximum amount of space in the iframe.  The following links demonstrates the issue

More details on this issue can be found here.

Google Chrome’s earlier release – Chrome 15.0.874.102 had over 27 fixes and rewards accounted to USD $26k. The release also included new features in  Chrome  15, such as the redesigned New Tab page. If you ever encounter a problem or want to report a bug related to Google Chrome, then you can fill up this form notify the Google Chrome team.

Download the latest stable release:

Firefox 8 Released: Introduces Better Add-on Security and Improved Performance

Firefox 8 is not officially slated to be released until November 8; however, the final builds for most platforms are already available on Mozilla’s ftp channels. Unlike the last few releases, Firefox 8 actually has a couple of new features that are worth looking into.

The biggest change is related to Firefox’s add-on installation and management procedure. On first launch, Firefox 8 presents users with a list of all the add-ons currently installed. Add-ons that were installed by third-party applications are disabled by default. If any third party application attempts to install a new extension, Firefox will seek the user’s permission before allowing the extension to be installed.

Firefox-8-Add-on-Management
Firefox-8-On-Demand-Tab-Loading

There is also a new option that forces Firefox to load tabs only when they are activated, while restoring windows and tabs from the previous session. This is a handy option that should reduce the start-up times for Firefox 8. However, it is disabled by default and needs to be enabled from Options –> General.

Firefox-8-Add-on-Security

Other significant changes in Firefox 8 are: addition of Twitter to the search bar, improved tab animations, improved performance and memory handling when using HTML5

At the time of writing, Firefox 8 for Windows x64 was yet to be uploaded; however, you can find the new stable build for almost all other platforms here.

Mute Video/Music Sound in Google Chrome

Tabbed browsing has definitely changed the way we access webpages in browsers. However, I have faced a few problems with multiple tabs, one of them being   a scenario where I have 20 tabs open in and one of them suddenly starts playing loud video or music.

Finding the offending tab is often like finding a needle in a haystack and the best recourse is to just mute your system music. But what if you are playing music on another app? You would mute that too right. Another solution would be to just close all the tabs at once and get rid of the annoyance. Neither of these solutions are really graceful.

There have been several forum threads about this issue, but Google engineers have stated that it is hard for them to isolate a tab which is playing music or video and allow users to mute them, thanks to limitations in the operating system.

However, there is an option in the form of a which will allow you to mute music or video sounds in all the tabs at once, using a toolbar option or a keyboard shortcut (Alt + W).

Mute All Tabs Google Chrome

The extension in question is the Chrome Toolbox Options, which also provides with several other interesting features to enhance your Google Chrome experience including preventing Google Chrome from closing down when you close the last tab and more.

The “Mute all tabs” is definitely a great feature, but what if you want to now find and close the tab which is playing the loud music or video? Are you going to go through each individual tab and find the culprit? Well, that would take a long time. Well, another extension called “Mute Tab” can come in handy.

Mute Tab is an   which will allow you to find out which tabs are playing videos, music or flash and then allow you to mute them. This is definitely handy if you want to find a culprit tab and shut it down rather than having to browse through individual tabs.

That’s it, using these two extensions will save you a lot of trouble, and probably embarrassment Winking smile when you are using Google Chrome. Do feel free to post your own suggestions if you use different methods to get rid of this annoyance.

Mozilla Firefox Gets Bing’ed – Microsoft Introduces Firefox with Bing

There had been some speculation earlier that Firefox was going to dump Google search  as its default search engine and replace it with Microsoft’s Bing, since Google came out with its own browser, Chrome. However, the Mozilla team immediately clarified stating that the default search will remain Google powered, but will add Bing to the pre-existing list of search services likes Wikipedia, Amazon, Yahoo and others.

Yet, Microsoft  wasn’t  pleased about it, and were looking forward for an alternative. In a blog post, Microsoft announced that it has teamed up with the Mozilla team to release a new version of Firefox with Bing, which includes Bing as the default search engine. Well, don’t get too excited about that. This will be released as a separate version along with the default version which is powered by Google search.

Firefox With Bing

It’s just that there are two same versions of Firefox with a different search provider. In other words, Firefox with Bing is exactly the same as normal Firefox. The new version will receive security and version updates at the same time as the normal Firefox.

According to the Bing team, the Bing powered version of Firefox has something called “AwesomeBar” – where you can type in URLs (Web addresses) as well as search queries. Perhaps Microsoft wasn’t aware of it that this feature has been already available in the previous versions of Firefox and is also available in every other browser. Needless to say, Microsoft has always been into this – replicating ideas and giving it another name.

Something to note – In November 2011, Mozilla’s contract with Google will expire. However, we aren’t sure if the contract will be renewed or Mozilla is just going to dump Google. Or it could be the other way round also.

For Mozilla, the partnership with Microsoft is certainly a good deal. Firefox is still the most popular browser, however stats indicate that it is slightly declining month-by-month, but on the other hand, Google’s Chrome is gaining popularity progressively. This, however, makes me think that Google might not be interested in renewing their contract with Firefox.

Also Read:  Why Is Chrome Winning And Firefox Losing Market Share?

2011 Browser Statistics

Did you know? Google Chrome has been the most used browser on Techie Buzz

Sebastian Anthony from Extreme Tech explained how browsers make money, and Firefox being the most popular browser, generated 97 percent ($104 million) of its revenue from royalties paid from the Firefox search box, out of which 86 percent ($85 million) came from Google alone. Now, if Google does not renew its contract with Firefox, then it could be a direct challenge for Microsoft’s Bing as well as for Firefox in the browser wars.

You can download Firefox with Bing from  FirefoxWithBing.com.

[Statistics via]

Is Firefox Serious About Blocking the Java Plugin?

Firefox is the second most popular web-browser and it has held this title for too long. Projected figures show that it is going to  lose the title in December. However, an ongoing discussion by Mozilla might accelerate the fact. The discussion is on whether Firefox should allow the Java plugin, which is used for almost all  transactions  (not just online banking transactions) across the world.
java-plugin
A new attack has been identified that decrypts web-traffic and can dig through sensitive and personal information being sent over a transaction. The attack has been termed as  the BEAST (Browser Exploit Against SSL/TLS) attack  and it has been demonstrated successfully in a proof-of-concept hack.

Dan Goodin from The Register  talks about the BEAST exploit:

The vulnerability resides in versions 1.0 and earlier of TLS, or transport layer security, the successor to the  secure sockets layer technology  that serves as the internet’s foundation of trust. Although versions 1.1 and 1.2 of TLS aren’t susceptible, they remain almost entirely unsupported in browsers and websites alike, making encrypted transactions on PayPal, GMail, and just about every other website vulnerable to eavesdropping by hackers who are able to control the connection between the end user and the website he’s visiting.

The Public Key Infrastructure has three core services to take care of- Authentication, Integrity and Confidentiality. Authentication makes sure that the people at either end of the transaction are indeed who they claim to be. Integrity ensures that the data being transmitted is sent and received in the same form without alteration. Confidentiality deals with hiding the data from prying eyes, making the data  comprehensible  only to the people at either end. The BEAST attack goes after confidentiality and breaks it successfully.

The bug  689661 on Bugzilla at Mozilla lists out a favorite solution of blacklisting all versions of the Java plugin. This will affect all corporate businesses (ones that are transaction based) and some regular features of services that explicitly rely on the Java plugin, ones like Facebook video chat.

Currently, the only web-browser that is attempting to secure against this attack (without removing Java support) is Google Chrome.

(Image source)

Opera 11.51 Released with Security and Stability Fixes

OperaOpera Software has published a minor update to the Swordfish (Opera 11.5x) trunk. As suggested by the version number, Opera 11.51 is an extremely minor bug fix update that is intended to fix some of the major security and stability issues.

Swordfish introduced Opera’s speed dial extensions, Featherweight skin, and password synchronization, along with a host of under the hood changes. Check out our full review for a lowdown on Opera 11.50. According to the changelog, Opera 11.51 fixes several common crashes reported using the crash reporter along with some small usability issues and other bugs. Two security issues have also been fixed. Opera has refused to divulge the details of one of the low-severity issues, possibly because it also affects other browsers. The other vulnerability could have been exploited to make unsecured web content appear secure. Also new to Opera 11.51 is Lion fullscreen support for Mac users. The full changelog is available here.

Work is already underway on the next major release of Opera, codenamed Wahoo. Although, Opera is keeping its cards close to its chest, it has been releasing Opera Next builds of Wahoo. Opera 12 is widely expected to introduce support for cross-platform GPU Acceleration and WebGL. Opera’s Ragnarök HTML5 parser might also sneak through. What are the new features that you would like to see in Opera 12? Don’t forget to let us know.

[ Download Opera 11.51 ]

The Pitfalls of Firefox’s Rapid Release Cycle [Editorial]

If you have been following the recent Firefox releases, you are probably already aware that Mozilla is now following a rapid release cyclefor Firefox. Frustrated by the innumerable delays that plagued the release of Firefox 4, Mozilla decided to take a leaf out of Google’s book, and release a new version of Firefox every six weeks. Unfortunately, the new quick-fire release policy creates some major issues that Mozilla doesn’t seem to be willing to tackle.

Firefox-Rapid-Release

The first problem is that it makes version numbers redundant. A major version number bump normally indicates the introduction of major new features along with significant enhancements to existing features. However, the biggest new feature in Firefox 6 domain highlighting in the address bar, is something that wouldn’t excite even the most passionate Firefox user. Firefox 5 was even worse.

The biggest feature in Firefox 5 is that the Do Not Trackfeature, which we have discussed in a fair amount of detail in the past, is now more accessible. It is now available under the Privacytab, instead of being buried under Advancedoptions. Yep, the biggest user-perceivable change in Firefox 5 is a minor interface tweak.

Of course, this alone isn’t such a big problem. Undoubtedly, it’s annoying and stupid. However, Firefox’s auto-update does a good job at making the update process hassle free. Add-on compatibility was another issue that I was worried about. However, Mozilla seems to be doing something right in this area. All the add-ons I used were compatible with Firefox 6 at launch. At the time of writing, 99% of the top extensions, which constitute 95% of the total extension usage, are compatible with Firefox 6.

Unfortunately, there is one issue that Mozilla doesn’t seem to have a solution for. The rapid fire update policy means that every year we will be witnessing eight to nine major version trunks of Mozilla. However, Mozilla isn’t willing to support the older version trunks. If you are on version 4, which was released just a few months back, then tough luck. Mozilla won’t be providing any further updates to the 4.x trunk. Updating to newer versions might not be a big issue for home users, but it is a major undertaking for enterprises. Each major update has to be tested for regressions and other issues before it can be deployed. Mozilla’s reluctance to support older trunks mean that enterprises stand the risk of being left vulnerable to serious security vulnerabilities over extended periods.

Enterprises are notorious for their reluctance to switch to newer and better browsers. It’s only recently that some of them have begun to opt for Firefox. However, with the new rapid release cycle, Mozilla will almost certain succeed in making all of them revert to Microsoft Internet Explorer, since Google Chrome also follows the same quick-fire release cycle and Opera has too many website compatibility problems (often due to factors out of its control) to be considered seriously. In contrast to Mozilla, Microsoft will be supporting Internet Explorer 9 till January 2020.

Google Toolbar Works in Firefox 5 and Firefox 6 – Here Is How To Enable It

A few weeks ago, Google said that they would be discontinuing Google Toolbar for Firefox 5 and will only continue supporting . However, in spite of that, the Google Toolbar continues to work in Firefox 5 and .

Google Toolbar for Firefox 5 and Firefox 6

I have been using the Google Toolbar in 5 and Firefox 6 for a few months now without issues, however, it does come with a caveat. Since Google has officially said that support for Google Toolbar is only available through Firefox 4, Firefox automatically disables the on Firefox 5 and Firefox 5.

Also Read: Firefox 5 Review | Firefox 6 Review

In order to enable the Google Toolbar in Firefox 5 and Firefox 6 you will first have to install the Add-on compatibility reporter extension in Firefox and restart the browser.

Change Google Toolbar Compatibility Firefox 5 & Firefox 6

Once you have done that head over to the “Add-ons” and you will be able to run Google Toolbar in Firefox 5 and Firefox 6. Firefox will still report that the add-on is incompatible with the newer versions, however, you can continue using it without issues. If you need more help with this read our earlier guide on How To Run Older Add-ons in Firefox.

Firefox 6 Released with Very Few Changes

Firefox 6 is not officially scheduled to ship until tomorrow, however the final build for all the platforms are now available for download from the official FTP channels. Much like the previous release, the changelog for Fx 6 is quite flimsy, and the new build doesn’t feature any major new user facing feature. This is of course the side-effect of following a rapid release cycle. While it makes it easier for Mozilla to stick to the schedule, it also makes version numbers insignificant and immaterial. GHacks reported yesterday that Mozilla is planning on hiding the version number from normal users by removing it from the About’ box. Of course, that would be an incredibly lame and stupid way to tackle the issue. The sensible thing for Mozilla would be to label these releases as minor version updates, and have one or two scheduled major updates per year that will actually deliver new features. Anyway, there is no point in blaming Mozilla alone. Google is the one who started this madness with their Chrome release cycle.

Firefox-6

Coming back to Firefox 6, the most significant change is that the address bar now highlights the domain of the website you are currently browsing. The site identity blocker has also received a minor facelift to make it sleeker than before. There are also a few behind the scenes improvements such as support for WebSockets, improved Scratchpad, a new Web Developer menu item, an improved Web Console, and reduced browser startup time when using Panaroma.

There are as many as 1,300 changes in Firefox 6. However, almost all of them are bug fixes. When it comes to delivering new features, Firefox disappoints once again. If you have used Firefox 5, or even Firefox 4, you already know what to expect. If you liked either of those two releases, you will like Firefox 6. If you didn’t, then Firefox 6 will not change your opinion.

[ Download Firefox 6 for Windows | Mac | Linux ]

Internet Explorer Popular Among People with Low IQ, Study Suggests

Aptiquant, a Vancouver based Psychometric Consulting company, which specializes in helping organizations objectively assess applicants and employees, has released the results of its study in which it correlated the IQ (Intelligent Quotients) of users with the browser they were using. The results aren’t all that surprising.

On an average, Internet Explorer users were found to have the least IQ, while Opera users had the highest. Camino users and Internet Explorer users with Chrome Frame plugin were also found to have higher than average IQ. The results are pretty much what you would expect. The dominance of Internet Explorer has long been attributed to its bundling with Windows. A sizeable portion of users tend to just use what Windows ships with instead of looking for alternatives. Heck, many people don’t even know what is a web browser. On the other hand Opera, which has remained the niche browser, is often dubbed as the browser for geeks and power users.

Browser-User-IQ

In order to collect the data Aptiquant relied on the Wechsler Adult Intelligence Scale (IV) test, which is available on its website. The gender, geographic location, and browser of netizens taking the test were recorded along with their test results. The scores of more than 101,326 individuals were analyzed.

Aptiquant also compared their recent dataset with the data they had collected in 2006. The older dataset paints a significantly different picture. The mean IQ of Opera users drops significantly, and Internet Explorer (6 and 7) gets a significant boost. Clearly, over the last five years, Internet Explorer has lost its share of intelligent users, as power users have migrated elsewhere.

Aptiquant also divided the users into IQ groups based on their percentile ranks. Once again, Internet Explorer users dominated the lower percentile groups, while Firefox, Opera, Chrome and Safari users dominated the higher percentile groups.

Aptiquant’s study reinforces that stereotype that Internet Explorer is a dumb user’s browser. It also demonstrates that Microsoft has simply not been able to stay abreast with its competitors. Even though Internet Explorer 7 and 8 users have a higher IQ score than Internet Explorer 6 users, Microsoft has failed to stop the flow of power users to third-party alternatives. Internet Explorer still has a healthy market share. However, masses often follow the early adopters and power users. Microsoft will need to come up with something pretty brilliant if it hopes to reverse Internet Explorer’s fortunes.

Hat tip: @Opera