NSS Said : IE9 Blocks Virtually all Socially Engineered Malware, Rather Than Other Browsers

A study prepared by NSS Labs concludes that Microsoft's Internet Explorer 9 blocks virtually all socially engineered malware, far more than rival browsers.
The study was designed to examine one aspect of security: how a browser handled a malicious URL, such as one received in a posting on a social network or an email. The NSS goal was to find the browser which identified, warned, and/or blocked malicious URLs from being viewed by the user.
As it did in 2010, Microsoft's IE9 with Smart Screen URL detection and Application Reputation topped the field, blocking 99.2 percent of all malicious emails. Google's Chrome 12 finished far behind, blocking 13.2 percent of all malicious URLs. Apple's Safari 5 and Mozilla Firefox 4 tied at 7.4 percent, with Opera 11 finishing dead last at 6.1 percent.


The NSS Labs study showed that, globally, all of the browsers tested showed improvement over an NSS study performed last year, with two exceptions: Safari and Mozilla's Firefox. A year ago, Microsoft IE9 blocked 99 percent of the malicious URLs, followed by Chrome 6 (3%), Safari 5 (11%), Firefox 3.6.15 (19%), and Opera 10 (0%).
NSS attributed Microsoft's success to its Application Reputation technology, which has attempted to categorize applications across the Internet.
"The significance of Microsoft's new application reputation technology cannot be overstated," the NSS report found. "Application reputation is the first attempt by any vendor to create a definitive list of every application on the Internet. This new capability helps users discern malware, and potentially unsafe software from actual good software. The list is dynamically created and maintained, much the same way Google, (or Bing) is continuously building and maintaining a library of content for search purposes."
The NSS tests sliced the potential for malware along one specific axis, socially engineered malware, a distinction Google objected to during the 2010 tests. ""Google Chrome was built with security in mind from the beginning and emphasizes protection of users from drive-by downloads and plug-in vulnerabilities," a spokeswoman said then.
NSS also found that the combination of SmartScreen and Application Reputation means that IE9 blocked new malware in just over half and hour, while Safari 5 and Firefox 4 required 4.91 and 6.07 hours, on average, to detect a new malicious URL. Chrome 12 and Opera 11, by contrast, required 17.7 and 18.4 hours, respectively. Over time, as the malicious URLs changed in response to detection, the browsers maintained their level of protection fairly consistently, NSS found.
"Not only has the effectiveness of the technology improved, but so has the speed at which it is able to identify socially engineered malware," Roger Capriotta, director of Internet Explorer product marketing, wrote in a blog post Monday. "For our Windows customers, this means fewer infections and headaches for you."
In its report, NSS said its findings were independent, and that it had not received funding from any vendor. 

-News Source (PC Mag)


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