Test Center: How secure is Firefox?
Mozilla's popular Web browser is long on user-friendly features and third-party extensions, and short on granular security controlsFollow @rogeragrimes
Security can be defined through the normal Tools > Options menu or by typing "about:config" in the URL bar. The latter option opens up hundreds of behind-the-scenes settings, similar to what might only be found among the registry settings of other browsers. Serious users always configure security using the about:config method, although detailed descriptions on each option can be a little hard to find.
Firefox has an anti-phishing feature, and it will attempt to block connections to previously reported malicious Web sites. The latter feature is similar to Internet Explorer's SmartScreen Filter. These features can be easily turned on and off. Firefox had the best pop-up prevention of any of the browsers I've tested. Whereas even the other top browsers would occasionally hiccup or suffer slight delays or GUI issues, Firefox simply blocked the pop-ups and warned in a non-annoying way.
But when I took Firefox to a malicious Web site known for starting dozens of browser windows, pop-up ads, and programs, Firefox locked up like most of the other browsers I tested (the lone exception was Opera). I had to reboot the system to regain control. Further, when I restarted Firefox, it attempted to re-open my last visited Web pages (again, like nearly every browser today), which in this instance was the killer Web site. With a little bit of Task Manager fighting, I was able to end the new Firefox sessions before they caused another lockup. Luckily, like Internet Explorer, Firefox has a "safe mode" that can be launched to recover from such disasters. Even better, whereas Internet Explorer only disables all add-ons by default, Firefox Safe Mode allows you to erase the history files, return browser settings to the defaults, make other necessary changes, and then automatically restart in normal mode. It's a great little feature.