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Opera vulnerability proves that all Web browsers should be viewed as potentially insecure says Idappcom.

Reports that the Opera Web browser has been hit by a zero-day vulnerability highlights the fact that all Web browser clients are, by their very nature, insecure, says Idappcom, the data traffic analysis and security specialist.

According to Anthony Haywood, the firm's chief technology officer, Opera is popular amongst users of smartphones and netbooks, owing to its relatively small footprint.

"Ironically, it's also been gaining traction on account of its less-than-mainstream status, which some experts have observed means that the software is less of a target by hackers and cybercriminals," he said.

"This reasoning appears quite sound, until you realise the world's Internet browser user base is now measured in hundreds of millions, which means that a client that accounts for a fraction of a percentage still means there are millions of users out there in cyberspace," he added.

Idappcom's CTO went on to say that the very fact a browser is low profile and has a select user base can actually make it attractive in the eyes of cybercriminals, as hackers can start exploring what appears to be virgin territory as far as vulnerabilities are concerned.

The most important thing to realise about Web browser client software, he says, is that it is designed to access a variety of Web sites, typically using Port 80 for regular HTTP access, and Port 443 for HTTPS access.

With so many IP ports available, this might sound a small IP profile to deal with from a security perspective, but the problem is that there are a growing number of nonstandard applications that use Port 80 across the Internet, meaning that a Web browser client must be able to support these features, he explained.

The bottom line to this latest browser flaw is that Internet software users need to install multiple layers of security defence, and ensure their software - and their security knowledge - is as up to date as possible."


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Title Annotation:IM World: News from around the globe
Publication:IDMi (Information & Document Management International)
Date:Feb 1, 2011
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