A recent survey revealed that many people still don't realize how applications might affect overall system security. The survey, conducted by Harris Interactive on behalf of browser maker Opera Software, was given to 2800 people. Fifty-one percent of those surveyed thought that their choice of browser software could be a factor in whether their systems become infiltrated by malicious software.

Likewise the survey revealed that 49 percent thought otherwise. Of that 49 percent, 17 percent thought that the browser played no role in overall system security and 32 percent said they didn't know one way or the other. 

"Changing to a more secure browser is one of the simplest ways for Web users to make surfing safer and minimize the risk of falling victim to virus, spyware or phishing attacks," said Håkon Wium Lie, chief technology officer at Opera Software.

That may be true, but it isn't the only way to improve browser security to help eliminate the possible inroads used by various forms of malware. For example, simple adjustments to Internet Explorer's security zone settings (whether through configuration dialogs or registry hacks) can dramatically improve overall system security. Other tactics, such as turning off Java and Javascript, can be used with any browser.

Nevertheless,
Opera Software said that their Web browser has one of the best track records in terms of how many security problems have been discovered as well as turnaround time for the correction of those problems. "According to Secunia reports , Opera has required less security advisories and has recorded faster response time as compared to other browsers," said a spokesperson for the company.