Internet Explorer offers best protection against socially-engineered malware

By Tom Warren, on 14th Dec 10 5:47 pm with 3 Comments

A new report from NSS Labs suggests Microsoft’s Internet Explorer offers the best protection against socially-engineered malware.

NSS Labs, an independent, information security research and testing organisation released its findings in a report (PDF) entitled “web browser security socially-engineered malware protection.” NSS claim that Internet Explorer 9 beta caught “an exceptional” 99% of all live threats. NSS suggests this is due to Microsoft’s new application reputation system in IE9. The results lead the pack by 8.5%.

Microsoft’s Internet Explorer 8 also fared well, catching 90.2% of all live threats. This is a 5% improvement from Q1 2010. The closest competitor was Firefox 3.6 at 19.5% followed by Safari 5 at 10.9% and Chrome 6 at 3.4%. Opera caught 0% of the live threats, providing virtually no protection against socially-engineered malware. NSS describes Microsoft’s results in the report:

It became obvious from this test and comparisons to the earlier test that Microsoft continues to improve their IE malware protection in Internet Explorer 8 (through its SmartScreen Filter technology) and in Internet Explorer 9 (with the addition of SmartScreen application reputation technology). With a unique URL blocking score of 94.5% and over-time protection rating of 98.7%, Internet Explorer 9 was by far the best at protecting against socially-engineered malware. The 89% zero-hour block rate suggests a far superior malware identification, collection, and classification method.

Microsoft was understandably upbeat over the report, the software giant issued the following statement:

With Malware the most common and impactful security threat facing internet users today, Internet Explorer 9 Beta has delivered a robust set of built-in security, privacy, and reliability technologies that allow you to browse in total confidence and control.  Security and privacy are of paramount importance to the Internet Explorer team, we are continuing to improve our offerings including announcing the latest privacy protection update in Internet Explorer 9.

Microsoft revealed earlier this month that the IE9 beta has clocked up over 15 million downloads. Internet Explorer 9 beta made its debut on September 15 to a fanfare of Gorillaz appearances and anticipation of Microsoft’s new look browser. The software giant is currently preparing for a release of Internet Explorer 9 Release Candidate (RC) in early 2011. The company recently unveiled a new “Tracking Protection” feature for Internet Explorer 9 and in-doing so revealed a new build of IE9. WinRumors understands this build is very close to what will become the final RC code ready for early 2011. The build features square tabs and minor UI enhancements to the address bar buttons in Internet Explorer 9. Microsoft is widely expected to deliver the RC build of IE9 at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in a few weeks time.

Image Credit: NSS Labs

  • Grannyville7989

    I look forward to the RC. The current beta has been a very good experience apart from the three times when it crashed my computer to the point where the entire system locked up and I was forced to do a hard reset. Anyone else experienced that?

    • GP007

      No, i’ve had one or two tabs crash but that’s it, I’m on the newer leaked build though not the official beta.

    • Grannyville7989

      Hopefully it’s just isolated to the official beta I’m using then :)