Google's URL blacklist as poor as Microsoft's

Internet would be safer if the rivals integrated blacklist lists, say researchers.

Microsoft and Google should pair up their respective malware blacklists they use to protect their own browsers because as they stand they’re pretty poor, according to security researchers.

Accuvant Labs researchers, which compared the effectiveness of blacklists employed in Google's Safe Browsing List and Microsoft's SmartScreen Filter, found that both missed the majority of threats.

Out of an average of 3,096 live malware URLs Accuvant identified during a week in July, Google's blacklist matched an average of just 405 while Microsoft's matched 404.

"Based on our testing, it seems clear that no URL blacklisting service is fully comprehensive, and that any anti pattern-based defensive measure is, by definition, imperfect. As with antivirus, the question is not whether the pattern-based detection will fail, but when and how," the researchers wrote.

“We feel the only way to get the best results would be for all browser manufacturers to share their sample data,” they concluded.

The researchers’ findings were part of a Google-sponsored report that pits the security of Chrome against rivals Internet Explorer and Firefox.

The report in some way contradicts conclusions that could be drawn from an NSS Labs study earlier this year which found Internet Explorer 9's anti-malware defences were far superior to Chrome's.

Unlike that research however Accuvant excluded IE9's Application Reputation, which was the technology responsible for picking up almost every threat NSS threw at it and which its SmartScreen filter missed. Accuvant also excluded Chrome's equivalent malicious executable detection feature.

While both Chrome and IE's URL blacklisting performed poorly, Accuvant put Chrome sandboxing and plug-in security ahead of IE because they were "implemented in a more thorough and comprehensive manner".

IE and Chrome were placed ahead of Firefox, which lacked sandboxing, plug-in security and JIT (just in time) hardening according to Accuvant.

Despite partially implemented sanboxing for add-ons, this feature still posed a problem for Chrome since it lacked policy controls to prevent exploit writers undermining built-in anti-exploitation technologies such as Address Space Layout Radomisation and Data Execution Prevention.

Follow @CSO_Australia and sign up to the CSO Australia newsletter.

Join the CSO newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags GoogleMicrosoftbrowserblacklistsAccuvant LabsMicrosoft SmartScreen Filtermalware blacklistsGoogle Safe Browsing Listmalwareweb browsers

More about GoogleMicrosoft

Show Comments

Featured Whitepapers

Editor's Recommendations

Solution Centres

Stories by Liam Tung

Latest Videos

  • 150x50

    CSO Webinar: The Human Factor - Your people are your biggest security weakness

    ​Speakers: David Lacey, Researcher and former CISO Royal Mail David Turner - Global Risk Management Expert Mark Guntrip - Group Manager, Email Protection, Proofpoint

    Play Video

  • 150x50

    CSO Webinar: Current ransomware defences are failing – but machine learning can drive a more proactive solution

    Speakers • Ty Miller, Director, Threat Intelligence • Mark Gregory, Leader, Network Engineering Research Group, RMIT • Jeff Lanza, Retired FBI Agent (USA) • Andy Solterbeck, VP Asia Pacific, Cylance • David Braue, CSO MC/Moderator What to expect: ​Hear from industry experts on the local and global ransomware threat landscape. Explore a new approach to dealing with ransomware using machine-learning techniques and by thinking about the problem in a fundamentally different way. Apply techniques for gathering insight into ransomware behaviour and find out what elements must go into a truly effective ransomware defence. Get a first-hand look at how ransomware actually works in practice, and how machine-learning techniques can pick up on its activities long before your employees do.

    Play Video

  • 150x50

    CSO Webinar: Get real about metadata to avoid a false sense of security

    Speakers: • Anthony Caruana – CSO MC and moderator • Ian Farquhar, Worldwide Virtual Security Team Lead, Gigamon • John Lindsay, Former CTO, iiNet • Skeeve Stevens, Futurist, Future Sumo • David Vaile - Vice chair of APF, Co-Convenor of the Cyberspace Law And Policy Community, UNSW Law Faculty This webinar covers: - A 101 on metadata - what it is and how to use it - Insight into a typical attack, what happens and what we would find when looking into the metadata - How to collect metadata, use this to detect attacks and get greater insight into how you can use this to protect your organisation - Learn how much raw data and metadata to retain and how long for - Get a reality check on how you're using your metadata and if this is enough to secure your organisation

    Play Video

  • 150x50

    CSO Webinar: How banking trojans work and how you can stop them

    CSO Webinar: How banking trojans work and how you can stop them Featuring: • John Baird, Director of Global Technology Production, Deutsche Bank • Samantha Macleod, GM Cyber Security, ME Bank • Sherrod DeGrippo, Director of Emerging Threats, Proofpoint (USA)

    Play Video

  • 150x50

    IDG Live Webinar:The right collaboration strategy will help your business take flight

    Speakers - Mike Harris, Engineering Services Manager, Jetstar - Christopher Johnson, IT Director APAC, 20th Century Fox - Brent Maxwell, Director of Information Systems, THE ICONIC - IDG MC/Moderator Anthony Caruana

    Play Video

More videos

Blog Posts