A web browser is not exactly a hack tool, as it is the standard means by which web applications are designed to be accessed. Nevertheless, your choice of web browser may have an impact on your effectiveness when attacking a web application. Furthermore, various extensions are available to different types of browsers, which can help you carry out an attack. This section briefly examines three popular browsers and some of the extensions available for them.
Microsoft's Internet Explorer (IE) has for many years been the most widely used web browser. It remains so by most estimates, capturing approximately 45% of the market. Virtually all web applications are designed for and tested on current versions of IE. This makes IE a good choice for an attacker, because most applications' content and functionality are displayed correctly and can be used properly within IE. In particular, other browsers do not natively support ActiveX controls, making IE mandatory if an application employs this technology. One restriction imposed by IE is that you are restricted to working with the Microsoft Windows platform.
Because of IE's widespread adoption, when you are testing for cross-site scripting and other attacks against application users, you should always try to make your attacks work against this browser if possible (see Chapter 12).
Internet Explorer 8 introduced ...