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Internet Explorer 9 tops browser security test once again

Remember the news we posted some time back about how Microsoft's Internet Explorer 9 (IE9) web browser topped the charts for browser security in Europe?It turns out that NSS Labs has released the results of yet another browser security test that pits IE9 against other popular browsers, except that this time the test consists of socially engineered malware data generated worldwide. And the results? Well, let's just say IE9 came in first yet again.

A month ago, we published a story describing how a research company known as NSSS Labs has released the results of its study on browser security in Europe, where Microsoft's new Internet Explorer 9 web browser topped the charts with its 100% success rate in blocking socially engineered malware. However, if those results were not enough to convince you to actually start considering IE9 as a suitable web browser for use on your Windows-based PC, the latest results released by NSS Labs might just do the trick. This is because the research company has released yet another report claiming that Internet Explorer 9 has once again beaten its competitors to retain its top position in actively blocking malware from entering a user's PC.

Unlike the previous study, which was centered around the effectiveness of a web browser's protection against socially-engineered malware targeting European users, the new test was expanded upon to include users from all over the world. And just as it was in the previous test, Microsoft's Internet Explorer 9 came through as the undisputed winner, if the results below are of any indication.

Once again, Internet Explorer 9's stellar performance in browser security was credited to Microsoft's strategy of implementing a dual-pronged approach of actively filtering out malware via a combination of URL and application-based reputation scans. NSS Labs claims that Microsoft's URL filtering system was capable of nabbing as much as 96% of live threats, while the added protection offered by Application Reputation bumped the filter's success rate up to 99.2%.

On the other hand, Chrome managed to block a total of 13.5% of the live threats it was exposed to, a figure which NSS Labs claims is significantly higher than the 3% it was able to manage in last year's test, while Safari 5 and Firefox 4 are both tied for third place with a successful block rate of 7.6%.

In addition, the report also credits Internet Explorer 9 with having the shortest response time in blocking suspicious sites that might be hosting malware, although this is largely due to the browser's Application Reputation feature playing a huge part in helping it achieve such a low response time, as shown in the graph below.

With results as definitive as this, it seems that Microsoft is well and truly on its way to banishing the previously held stereotype that it can never make a browser which is secure enough to actively protect users from a variety of online treats that lurk in cyberspace. So, the next time Microsoft Update issues a notice recommending that you upgrade your copy of Internet Explorer to the latest version available, you might want to do yourself and your PC a favor by actually accepting it.

The full report can be obtained from NSS Labs's website here.

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