Microsoft: Internet Explorer 8 and 9 block up to 5 million daily malware attacks

By Tom Warren, on 17th May 11 5:49 pm with 16 Comments

SmartScreen Application Reputation Unknown Program Warning

Microsoft revealed on Tuesday that its Internet Explorer 8 and 9 SmartScreen protection blocks between 2 and 5 million daily malware attacks.

The software giant revealed the figures in a blog post on Tuesday. Microsoft has found that 1 out of every 14 programs downloaded is later confirmed as malware. Microsoft’s SmartScreen technology has blocked more than 1.5 billion attempted malware attacks according to Microsoft. “IE is still the only major production browser to offer this kind of protection from socially engineered malware,” said Jeb Haber from Microsoft’s SmartScreen team. “Our goal is to establish a reputation for the publisher of every program on the Web so that consumers can have a safer and easier experience downloading them.”

Microsoft explains that Internet Explorer 9 has built on the secure foundation of the company’s SmartScreen filtering software. Microsoft added Application Reputation to Internet Explorer 9. Application Reputation that helps protect users from undetected malware masquerading as legitimate executable downloads, while also removing unnecessary warnings when a download has an established reputation. Microsoft claims the feature leads to a dramatic reduction in malware infections for Internet Explorer 9 users:

  • Users are choosing to delete or not run malware 95% of the time from the new Application Reputation warnings
  • Application Reputation will prevent more than 20 Million additional infections per month (on top of existing SmartScreen URL reputation blocks)
  • Because programs and publishers can now establish a reputation, 90% of program downloads no longer show browser security warnings when users have SmartScreen enabled
  • More importantly, with the streamlined experience, the typical user will only see 2 warnings per year
  • On any given day, clicking through the “unknown warning” carries a risk between 25% and 70% of malware infection.

Microsoft revealed in March that users have downloaded 36 million copies of Internet Explorer 9 since its beta release in September. The software maker launched its final development milestone version of Internet Explorer 9 on February 10. Microsoft’s Internet Explorer 9 includes an enhanced UI, HTML5 support, hardware accelerated browsing and some great security improvements. Microsoft has included Tracking Protection in Internet Explorer 9. The new privacy feature allows consumers to address their concerns about being tracked on the web. Internet Explorer 9 offers users a new opt-in mechanism to identify and block many forms of undesired tracking such as cookies, web beacons, advertisements and trackers. Tracking protection involves lists that can be published online. Microsoft’s second security enhancement is the ability to block ActiveX controls. Internet Explorer 9 includes an “ActiveX filter” option. The filter allows users to switch off ActiveX elements within their session, furthering Microsoft’s commitment to security within its browser.

Microsoft’s latest browser includes some great improvements for end users too. Improved tabbing, pinning and HTML5 support will make the web more beautiful claims Microsoft. The software giant has partnered with some big names to show off just what Internet Explorer 9 is capable off and it’s likely that hundreds more will follow in the coming months. Microsoft isn’t stopping at Internet Explorer 9 though. The company plans to bring its improvements to the mobile space. Windows Phone 7 will include a mobile version of IE9 later this year. The company will also ship regular Platform Previews to keep developers ready for the next versions of Internet Explorer. Internet Explorer 9 is just the start.

  • Guest

    Not to detract from the article–it looks like the security investments in IE9 are paying off–but I’m having an issue with the site where audio ads start playing in the background. I’m running IE9 with InPrivite filtering turning on, and everytime I load an article, a Lysol ads starts playing. The only visible ads I’m seeing are for Chrome, ZoneAlarm, and a few other tech-related thing along the right column. But there’s nothing for Lysol and, more importantly, no pause button to turn the damn thing off. It’s really annoying too, since there appear to be two audio tracks that play on top of one another. Can someone look into this?

    • http://twitter.com/Admiredluke Matthew Beadle

      Nope not having this problem, must be something your end. 

    • Guest

      @twitter-121460593:disqus : It’s definitely this site. If I turn on ActiveX filtering, it goes away, and I’m not having this problem on any other site I visit. If I have to guess, an advertiser is being abusive or got compromised. Maybe you aren’t seeing it because you’re being served a different set of ads?

    • http://twitter.com/Admiredluke Matthew Beadle

      @4b165dddd88261f3dcae7eecef6f5094:disqus Don’t know then. Might be right about being sent different adverts. 

    • http://twitter.com/Admiredluke Matthew Beadle

      Nope not having this problem, must be something your end. 

    • http://www.twitter.com/wixostrix WixosTrix

      That happens to me too as soon as I hit the site.  Two separate audio streams begin for random advertisements.  When I’m at home I use IE9 and it happens, but right now I’m using someone else’s computer and it’s happening in Chrome.  It’s very annoying. audio streams begin for random advertisements.  When I’m at home I use IE9 and it happens, but right now I’m using someone else’s computer and it’s happening in Chrome.  It’s very annoying.

    • Maxflipz

      Uhm really?  How about look at HTTP spy or Fiddler to record and analyze HTTP traffic.  Then you walk the results until you find your ad website and block it.  Very very easy to do. 

  • http://twitter.com/Admiredluke Matthew Beadle

    Looks like IE9 really is the browser of choice. Never
    got on with Firefox as half the time I have to keep having to loading the page
    in IE anyway because it will not display properly.

    Microsoft just needs to make more people aware of
    this fact in the same way Google does with chrome. It is not always the better
    product that wins just the one with more positive publicity.

  • http://twitter.com/Admiredluke Matthew Beadle

    Looks like IE9 really is the browser of choice. Never
    got on with Firefox as half the time I have to keep having to loading the page
    in IE anyway because it will not display properly.

    Microsoft just needs to make more people aware of
    this fact in the same way Google does with chrome. It is not always the better
    product that wins just the one with more positive publicity.

  • http://twitter.com/Admiredluke Matthew Beadle

    Looks like IE9 really is the browser of choice. Never
    got on with Firefox as half the time I have to keep having to loading the page
    in IE anyway because it will not display properly.

    Microsoft just needs to make more people aware of
    this fact in the same way Google does with chrome. It is not always the better
    product that wins just the one with more positive publicity.

  • zzz

    I love IE9 so far – it’s rock solid and fast.  But they need to do something about the fuzzy font issue on many sites including this one. MS says it’s the way going forward for consistent rendering of font sizes that result in fractional pixels (or whatever you call it) and you can work around the issue by enabling the compatability view mode.  True but there are just so many sites with this issue.  I’m afraid the issue will blow up big time against IE9 (and MS) once they push IE9 to everyone in coming months.  I suspect this is one of the reasons why they gave the 3 month window before the push but I don’t think webmasters will bother to update their site design in time.

  • http://www.twitter.com/wixostrix WixosTrix

    Internet Explorer 9 is great.  I’ve been using it since the beta release.  It still lacks in two important areas that would make the user experience a lot better: new add-ons management and browsing convenience capabilities. Chrome does both of these very well.  The extensions management is obvious, but little things I got used to having in Chrome were like: resizing text boxes, highlighting a URL and dragging it to load in a new or existing tab, and built-in spell check. a URL and dragging it to load in a new or existing tab, and built-in spell check.

  • http://twitter.com/PeterKremzar Peter Kremzar

    I like using Microsoft products but since I’ve bought a wide gamut monitor I often have to use Firefox. This is because IE, yes including 9.0, is not color managed. It’s the only browser of the big three that is not color managed yet. All of the photos are oversaturated when using a wide gamut monitor.

    I wrote that many times but it looks that Microsoft developers do not use wide gamut monitors otherwise they would see what’s going on. The problem IE has is that it is only half color managed. It interprets the color profile that comes with a photo correctly but that’s all. They forgot to write the second part where they should convert the photo into the monitor profile. If they would do that the photos would not be oversaturated on wide gamut monitors.

    Yes I have my monitors calibrated regularly with my X-Rite eye one Display 2 monitor calibrator. And I don’t have such problems with the other applications that are truly color managed ie. Adobe PhotoShop, Adobe Lightroom, Firefox and others.

    • Anonymous
    • http://twitter.com/PeterKremzar Peter Kremzar

      This is just the first phase of conversion that I mentioned. It just means that the IE can interpred the photo correctly. This is why you think everything is OK, but in fact you still see the wrong colors, because the second phase which includes the monitor profile is not implemented.

      The second phase where the IE should convert the photo into the monitor profile colorspace is not supported by IE.

      The page that you linked is not about the secon phase conversion. You can read some more about the problem here: http://www.artstorm.net/journal/2009/07/color-management-wide-gamut-dell-2408/

      Johan Steen is a true expert about color management.

  • Anonymous

    I had the same problem with my IE9 when opening this site. I like to open the various articles as tabs. When I did that today, I began hearing 2 or 3 audio ads simultaneously. I quickly searched each tab, but
    found no videos playing. This only happens on this site, so I think it’s the site, not our end as some have suggested.Love the articles though.  Keep up the good work!