Internet Explorer has been loathed by users over the years and it appears that Microsoft never really does learn from its past mistakes. However, a new study that pits Internet Explorer 10 against its competitors in a security test has declared the browser the best when it comes to protecting users from malicious social engineering sites and malware downloads.
NSS Labs recently tested a range of modern browsers including IE 10, Chrome, Safari, Firefox and Opera. Internet Explorer was found to block 99.96% of malicious downloads and also directed users away from most websites known to have malicious content. Chrome came in second with 83.16%.
However, while Chrome benefits from a user-generated data mine of known malicious sites and downloads as well as from their own web crawlers, IE obtained its success rating by mostly blocking every download it assumed could be malicious.
“If a 100% false positive acceptance rate is acceptable, it is trivial to protect users from all malicious download. With just a few lines of code, Firefox, Safari, and Opera could displace Internet Explorer and Chrome as the leaders of protection against socially engineered malware. However, describing every download as “malicious” would break the internet. Finding a balance between accuracy and safety is the challenge for browsers at the front of protection technology.” – NSS Labs
This is a bit like Microsoft Security Essentials, which I previously used on all my computers. Unfortunately, the rosy atmosphere surrounding the app, which doesn’t annoy you and is very light on resources, is mostly because MSE ignores zero-day exploits. That’s to say, unless Microsoft gets a virus submitted enough times through the app and also from its business partners using the same antivirus engine, it’ll flat-out ignore it until it become a real problem.
But that’s fine, because I don’t click on random “You’re the 100,000,000,000th Visitor!” banners, or answer those spam e-mails I sometimes get from LED factories in southern China. Because I don’t indulge in risky behaviour and because I use an advert blocker and a script advisor in my browers, MSE was perfectly fine up until the day my power profiles and some customisation options disappeared and my computer just froze.
Going back to AVG detected four trojans and two malware risks. Yikes.
Microsoft’s software might be great, but how well it actually does the job is debatable. However, I do congratulate Internet Explorer on its win and I hope its a sign of things to come.