Although it has yet to be finalized, Internet Explorer 9 has been found to offer the best protection against socially-engineered malware in a comparison study performed by NSS Labs.
According to the security research organization, IE9 is capable of blocking
no less than 99% of the socially-engineered pieces of malicious code thrown against it, outperforming all rival browsers.
The study was performed in September 2010 when the Redmond company released IE9 Beta, but given the test period, rival browser versions are a tad old in some cases.
IE9 was compared to IE8, Firefox 3.6, Chrome 6, Safari 5 and Opera 10, and was found superior when it came down to offering protection against attacks involving social engineering techniques.
Here are the conclusions from NSS Labs
“- Windows Internet Explorer 9 (beta) caught an exceptional 99% of the live threats, in part due to a new application reputation system, leading the pack by a 8.5% margin. IE 9’s protection includes SmartScreen, which is included in IE 8, and application reputation, which is new to IE 9.
- Windows Internet Explorer 8 caught 90.2% of the live threats, an exceptional score which was a 5% improvement from the Q1 2010 test and built upon prior improvements from the Q3 2009 and Q1 2009 tests.
- Mozilla Firefox 3.6 caught 19.5% of the live threats, far fewer than Internet Explorer 8 or Internet Explorer 9. This is a 10% decrease in protection from the Q1 2010 test.
- Apple Safari 5 caught 10.9% of the live threats. Overall protection declined 18% from Q1 2010.
- Google Chrome 6 caught 3.4% of the live threats, down 14% from the Q1 2010 test.
- Opera 10 caught 0% of the live threats, providing virtually no protection against socially-engineered malware.”
Social engineering attacks exploit weaknesses in human nature rather than security flaws in the code of applications.
IE9 can act as the best line of defense against an increasingly spreading form of cybercrime, fending off attacks even before users get to visit a malformed website, or download malicious code and get infected.
“When your friend sends you a link to download a file containing “some awesome pictures,” your first thought isn’t to question whether this link may contain something bad like a virus that can shut your computer down or steal your identity,” revealed Roger Capriotti
, Director, Internet Explorer Product Marketing.
“Why would someone you trust send you something harmful? Unfortunately, this good-natured instinct is exactly the behavior that malware creators like to exploit.
“Attackers are looking to take advantage of contacts and personal relationships - relying on user actions rather than software vulnerabilities to harm people,” Capriotti added. Internet Explorer 9 (IE9) Beta is available for download here.
Internet Explorer 9 (IE9) Platform Preview 7 (PP7) is available for download here.