Which is the most secure browser that can block the maximum amount of malware that spreads across the Internet every single day? Any Guesses ? Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome , Opera, Safari, Rockmelt ? None !
The answer is Internet Explorer9.
NSS Labs, an independent, information security research and testing organization has releases a report that finds Internet Explorer offers the best protection against socially-engineered malware.
A socially engineered malware attack depends on the user’s action and not on the software or application vulnerabilities. Malware creators take advantage of social relationships and use it to install crappy malware in a user’s system.
How Socially Engineered Malware Spreads Across the Internet
Let’s take an example to understand how socially engineereed malware spreads from one system to another.
One morning, you open your email inbox and find a new email from your friend with lots of beautiful images attached to it. You read the email, download some of the wallpapers or images and think – ” This is cool, I should send some of these pictures to my Wife or family members.
Next, you hit the “forward” button and send the same pictures to your family members who might even forward the same email to their friends. This process continues until the email spreads to a large number of people, virally.
The sad thing is that some malware creators can use this user activity to send executable files or other harmful files as an email attachment. They may trigger harmful activities e.g installing a keylogger or keyboard tracking script, trying to track your email password, deleting files from your system and so on.
Gmail’s way of handling attachments is very strict but sometimes, the malware creators are able to bypass this restriction with a little help of zipped archives sent as attachments.
The new report by NSS labs sugegst that Internet Explorer 9 is the most secure browser which is able to block up to 99% of the malware that spreads across the internet. The report says:
With a unique URL blocking score of 94% and over-time protection rating of 99%, Internet Explorer 9 was by far the best at protecting users against socially-engineered malware.
The following graph compares the malware protection levels of Internet Explorer9, Internet Explorer8, Firefox, Google Chrome6, Safari 5 and Opera 10. Surprisingly, Internet explorer9 leads the race and is way more secure than Google Chrome, according to the report
Internet Explorer’s smart screen filter is very unique, you can use this filter to block specific websites in Internet explorer automatically. This feature is not available in other browsers e.g Firefox, Google Chrome or Safari. Secondly, Internet explorer has a large number of warning signals which is missing from recent browsers, this is especially useful for novice users who don’t have enough knowledge of internet browsing and they use the Internet only to check their email twice a day.
I am not an Internet explorer fan but agree to this fact that Internet Explorer is more secure (though not faster and advanced) than other browsers of recent times. You can read more about the above mentioned report at the Windows team blog.