There may be many who would argue in favor of other popular browsers like Firefox, Google Chrome or Opera for their ease of use and flexibility but in a recent report from NSS Labs, Internet Explorer 9 is still the most secure browser of all the Internet browsers. The following browsers were tested in the Web browser security socially engineered malware protection test:
- Apple Safari 5
- Google Chrome 10
- Internet Explorer 8
- Internet Explorer 9
- Mozilla Firefox 4
- Opera 11
Since this report was compiled in May 2011, Firefox 5 Final was not available at that moment and was not included in the tests. The tests were specifically geared towards the European countries because of the high rate of socially engineered malware distributed there. More than 700 malware sites were tested. Only those sites were included which apply socially engineered techniques to trick people to install malware in their computers.
Astonshingly Internet Explorer 9 is well ahead of the competition. Here are the final results in the form of a bar graph:
Internet Explorer 9 was able attain 92% in the URL reputation test and the remaining 8% was taken care with the application reputation making it 100%. Internet Explorer 9 includes the SmartScreen filter which is responsible for blocking all the malware to be downloaded on the local computer. The SmartScreen filter has two components: URL reputation and Application reputation. Application reputation in IE9 is better than all other browsers because it allows only the trusted files to be downloaded without warning. All other files get a warning message before being downloaded. The trust of a file is calculated by the number and frequency of the file downloaded through Internet Explorer world wide.
Internet Explorer 8 was able to block 90% of the threats which is also far better than other browsers.
Safari 5, Google Chrome 10 and Firefox 4 were able to detect and block 13% of the threats each. The percentage is identical because they all use the same back-end technology, Google safe browsing system.
Opera has integrated AVG scanner engine in their browser which is showing some progress and blocked 5% of the threats directly.
The entire report can be downloaded from the following link in PDF format.
Download Web browser security comparison report