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While alternative browsers are not immune to security problems, security experts say they do have several inherent advantages over Internet Explorer. Craig Schmugar, a virus research manager with McAfee’s antivirus and vulnerability emergency response team, said Internet Explorer’s integration into Windows made it more vulnerable than other browsers, as did its support of ActiveX technologies. The browser’s wide deployment, he said, also makes it a more tempting target for hackers.

“If you’re talking about Opera, for example, maybe there’s one door in the front of the house that hackers are trying to break into,” Mr. Schmugar said. “It’s easier to secure that one door than the six doors all over the house Internet Explorer might have.”