IE9 decimates competition at malware prevention

The latest NSS Labs report is in, and the findings show that Internet Explorer completely dominates all other browsers when it comes to preventing socially engineered malware. For those that aren’t aware, socially engineered malware is a form of malicious software that attempts to trick users into installing it, and thanks to Internet Explorer 9’s SmartScreen URL filtering the browser prevents 92% of it; and up to 100% when you include Application Reputation to filer untrustworthy executables.

Internet Explorer 8 also does well in this arena, blocking 80% of all socially engineered malware. Other browsers look just shameful in comparison: Safari 5, Chrome 10 and Firefox 4 (the latest browsers at the start of Q2 2011) managed to block just 13% of the malware, with Opera 11 performing even worse and filtering just 5%.

Safari, Chrome and Firefox all perform the same due to all browsers using Google’s Safe Browsing URL blacklisting system, whereas Opera relies on an AVG-powered service. Not only is Opera the worst browser at preventing this type of attack, but it also is the slowest, averaging 48 hours to block a new malicious site versus 13 hours for the other browsers in the test.

The socially engineered malware used in the NSS Labs report came from instant messages, spam emails and dodgy social network posts; the malware was also targeted at European users, as Eurostat mentioned that nearly 33% of EU users were victims of malware infections in 2010. Also, while the report does reveal Internet Explorer 9 is the best at preventing unwanted malicious software from being installed, it comes at the cost of a higher-than-average false positive detection rate, something that would infuriate a lot of advanced users.

Image courtesy of NSS Labs

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