IE8 Offers Better Malware and Phishing Protection than Firefox, Microsoft Says
Article by George Norman
On 14 Aug 2009
Microsoft is boasting about the fact that a study made by NSS Labs (study commissioned by Microsoft) has shown that the Redmond-based company’s Internet Explorer 8 web browser protects against socially engineered malware and phishing attempts better than the competition. In the competition category we find Mozilla’s Firefox, Apple’s Safari, Google’s Chrome and Opera. Wait, I’m having a weird flashback – I see Microsoft’s browser comparison chart and the IE8 load times chart and I’m overwhelmed by a feeling that Microsoft is full of it.

“A new study released today from NSS Labs shows that Internet Explorer 8 is the #1 browser in malware protection and also the #1 browser in phishing protection. The independent test results showed that Internet Explorer 8 blocks 3 times more malware threats than Firefox 3 and 10 times more malware threats than Google Chrome 2. Given how Internet Explorer 8 performs against these socially engineered malware and phishing threats and the ongoing threat that cybercriminals pose against Internet users today, this is another good reason for consumers to upgrade to a modern browser and move on from earlier versions like Internet Explorer 6 where security issues were not then what they are today,” explained Windows Communications Manager on the Windows Client Communications Team, Brandon LeBlanc.


I agree with one thing: you should leave IE6 behind and move on to newer browser versions. The fact that Microsoft announced it will continue to support the outdated browser does not mean you should still use it. Modern browsers come with plenty more features, as well as enhanced security.

Getting back to the IE8 security test, NSS labs performed two tests – one checked how well browsers protect against malware, the other against phishing attempts. Here is what the tests revealed:

Socially engineered malware protection test percentages:
Internet Explorer 8 - 81%
Firefox 3 - 27%
Safari 4 - 21%
Chrome 2 - 7%
Opera 10 - 1%

Phishing attempts protection percentages:
Internet Explorer 8 - 83%
Firefox 3 - 80%
Opera 10 - 54%
Chrome 2 - 26%
Safari 4 - 2%

The NSS malware report is available here.
The NSS phishing report is available

Tags: Microsoft, Internet Explorer, Firefox, Chrome, Safari, Opera, NSS
About the author: George Norman
George is a news editor.
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