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Internet Explorer 10 Scores High Among Web Browsers for Malware Blocking

A new analysis by NSS Labs puts Microsoft Internet Explorer 10 ahead of the pack when it comes to browser protections against malware downloads.

A new analysis by NSS Labs puts Microsoft Internet Explorer 10 ahead of the pack when it comes to browser protections against malware downloads.

According to NSS Labs, IE 10 had a block rate of 99.96 percent, outstripping most of its rival browsers several times over. For their analysis, NSS Labs looked at Apple Safari 5, Google Chrome 25/26, IE 10, Mozilla Firefox 19 and Opera 12. The block rates for Safari and Firefox were 10.16 percent and 9.92 percent, respectively. Opera came in at just 1.87 percent.

Google Chrome was the second most effective at blocking socially-engineered malware, coming in with a block rate of approximately 83 percent – a significant bump from the 70 percent the browser scores in a NSS comparative test in October 2012. Researchers give much of the credit for that bump to the latest version of Google’s Safe Browsing API, which includes additional application reputation-based download protection. According to NSS, the API’s latest functionality accounts for more than 73 percent of Chrome’s overall block rate.

The report comes the same week as both Internet Explorer and Firefox were given critical updates to plug critical security holes. Firefox 21 was released with fixes for three critical vulnerabilities, and a new feature called the ‘Firefox Health Report’ that offers insight into browser crashes and other information.

The tests were run between March 13 and April 9. Since then, Apple has updated Safari to version 6. 

“Web browsers remain the primary infection vector for most consumers and enterprises. Improving the browser’s malware block rate substantially impacts one’s security profile,” said Randy Abrams, research director at NSS Labs, in a statement. “Both Google’s Download Protection and Microsoft’s App Rep allow users to override browser protecting, however, Google relies on this less reliable protection mechanism nearly four times as often as does Microsoft. The net result is that IE 10 users are offered superior protection over Chrome users with one quarter the risk of making a bad download decision. Firefox, Safari, and Opera users are afforded little protection at all by their browsers.”

The full report can be read here: https://www.nsslabs.com/reports/2013-browser-security-comparative-analysis-socially-engineered-malware.

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