Internet Explorer Hacked Flaw Acknowledged, NSS Says IE8 Safer than Firefox, Safari
Article by George Norman
On 25 Mar 2009
In a recent news article we reported that Microsoft’s recently released Internet Explorer 8 had been hacked by a German computer science student who only gave his first name- Nils. The hacking took place in the PWN2OWN contest, and in all fairness to Microsoft, Apple’s Safari and Mozilla’s Firefox were also hacked – details. According to Terri Forslof, manager of security response at 3Com's TippingPoint, Microsoft has acknowledged the security vulnerability exploited by Nils.

“The MSRC (Microsoft Security Response Center) woke me up before my alarm went off this morning to let me know that they had reproduced and validated IE8 vulnerability discovered by the mysterious Nils,” said Terri Forslof. I continue to be impressed by the dedication of the MSRC team- and was shocked to get the news of verification in less than 12 hours. For those not keeping score, the confirmation of the IE8 vulnerability on the released bits marks the first official vulnerability in IE8!”


In related security news, a study conducted by NSS Labs showed that when it comes to socially engineered malware, Microsoft’s Internet Explorer provides a better level of security as opposed as other browsers, mainly Safari and Firefox. Please note that the study was conducted on IE8 RC1, IE7, Firefox 3.0.7, Opera 9.64 and Safari v3.

“It became obvious as the results were tallied that Microsoft has made considerable achievements in adding protection from socially engineered malware into Internet Explorer v8 (SmartScreen). With a protection rating of 69%, Microsoft IE8 was by far the best at protecting against socially engineered malware and adds an excellent layer of protection on top of other endpoint protection solutions. We were impressed by the stability of IE8 (RC1). And although the browser did crash a few times during the test, it recovered gracefully with no long-term ramifications,” said NSS Labs.

If you would like to take a look at the NSS Labs test for yourself, you can do so here (PDF warning).
You might also want to see how Microsoft tested IE8 and came up with the conclusion that it loads web pages faster than Chrome and Firefox - details here .

Tags: Microsoft, Internet Explorer, IE 8, NSS Labs, Malware
About the author: George Norman
George is a news editor.
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