Testing firm: Internet Explorer tops browsers for malware protection

NSS Labs found that Internet Explorer 10 blocked more than 99 percent of the malicious downloads thrown at it

Mirror, mirror on the wall, what browser blocks malware best of all? The answer to that question is Microsoft Internet Explorer 10, at least according to the latest test results released by NSS Labs.

In tests performed on the five top browsers on the market--IE 10, Google Chrome 25/26, Apple Safari 5, Mozilla Firefox 19 and Opera 12--NSS researchers found that IE 10 blocked more than 99 percent of the malicious downloads thrown at it.

Finishing behind IE 10 was Chrome with a block rate exceeding 83 percent. That was more than a 10 percent improvement over its performance in past tests, NSS said.

The security research company asserted that a key to Chrome's improved performance was the addition of a safe browsing API. "Google's Safe Browsing API v2 includes additional application reputation-based download protection that has been integrated into Chrome, but not into Firefox or Safari and the results speak for themselves," NSS said.

"The latest API's additional functionality is seven times more effective than the Safe Browsing API alone and accounts for 73.16 percent of Chrome's overall block rate of 83.16 percent. Without the application reputation service," it added, "Chrome, Firefox and Safari all have block rates of around 10 percent."

Browsers have become a prime target for hackers seeking to distribute malware that can steal information from the computers it affects, as well as use a machine for activities such as sending spam and participating in Distributed Denial of Service attacks.

"The web browser is the primary vector by which malware is introduced to computers," NSS said in its test report. "Links in phishing emails, compromised websites, and trojanized 'free' software downloads all deliver malware via web browser downloads."

But NSS also contends that browsers can be the first line of defense against malware. "Browsers must provide a strong layer of defense from malware, especially in mobile operations, rather than relying upon third-party anti-malware solutions and operating system protections," NSS added.

Join the CSO newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags NSS Labsoperaapplicationsonline safetymalwaremozillachromeAppleGoogleMicrosoftsecuritybrowserssoftwaresafariInternet Explorer

More about AppleGoogleMicrosoftMozilla

Show Comments

Featured Whitepapers

Editor's Recommendations

Solution Centres

Stories by John P. Mello Jr.

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