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Does using an offline browser ensure more security?

by andyev / July 16, 2010 10:49 AM PDT

Hi, I am wondering if using an offline browser such as SiteSucker http://download.cnet.com/SiteSucker/3000-2377_4-10056980.html?tag=mncol

or SiteCapture
http://download.cnet.com/SiteCapture/3000-2377_4-128318.html?tag=mncol

would remove the risk of getting a virus? SiteSucker "[copies] the site's HTML documents, images, backgrounds, movies, and other files to your local hard drive"

And SiteCapture apparently takes a screenshot of the website.

My guesstimation is that the answer is "no" because since SiteSucker brings all the files to your hard drive, you would get the virus included in the files. But I'm not so sure about SiteCapture though, since all it does is take a picture of the website.

But yea, despite my guess, I want some kind of affirmation or opinions or whatever. Just to be sure Happy

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I suspect you're right
by MarkFlax Forum moderator / July 16, 2010 10:56 PM PDT

I read for that SiteSucker utility that, "It does this by copying the site's HTML documents, images, backgrounds, movies, and other files to your local hard drive"

Those 'other files' could be the vulnerable ones. But as long as you virus scan the downloaded files before opening them, that should be OK.

Two things though;

You would need an open and active internet connection for these utilities to work, so I am not convinced making the browser offline would help protect you.

On the other hand, you are using a Mac. There are malware threats for the Mac, but they are so few that I suspect the risk is vanishingly small.

Other Mac users here may see your post her and offer to comment, but just in case, I've asked Pete, (mrmacfixit), the Moderator for CNET's Mac forums to confirm or otherwise.

Hold on... Happy

Mark

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Offline browsing
by mrmacfixit Forum moderator / July 17, 2010 9:10 AM PDT

Assuming that you are using a Mac, then the virus threat to your Mac is less than minuscule, while the Malware problem is slightly higher.

As you surmise, if Sitesucker pulls all the files down from the website, then it would also bring down the nasties, assuming that downloaded everything.

The screen shot option sounds ok but, how very boring, just looking at pictures and having no interaction with the site.

Personally I would not bother with either of them. With a little common sense you will have years of browsing before anything untoward happens.

Hope that helps

P

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Additional note on SiteSucker...
by John.Wilkinson / July 18, 2010 7:07 AM PDT

Any browser you use automatically downloads all of the referenced files, just like SiteSucker. The only difference is that your browser downloads them to a temp folder for short-term use while that app downloads them to a custom location for long-term use. Thus, you'll receive no added security while likely encountering reduced functionality.

John

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