Complexity, though, is often the enemy of security. Numerous bugs hidden in all of that complicated code can lead...
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to exploitable security vulnerabilities. So defenses need to be balanced among the browser, the operating system and the network. It's the old defense-in-depth philosophy. We should not put all of our infosec eggs solely in the browser basket. The browser can help, but it can also be subverted.
That being said, I do not believe that today's browsers are sufficiently equipped to fight malware. Major browser vulnerabilities are discovered on a regular basis, and attackers install a great deal of malware by exploiting these browser holes. That manipulation will likely continue for some time. The browsers have improved, but all the browser-helper applications that play media files, including QuickTime and Acrobat Reader, and render different languages, like Flash, are proving to be a big security concern. The browser doesn't really prevent these third-party tools from being subverted, even though it invokes them.
Some people may say that it's not the browser's job to protect against errant third-party applications, and that's certainly a defendable argument. If everyone had that reasoning, it would be hard to believe that the browser would play "the greatest role in malware protection."
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