According to research firm NSS Labs, IE 9 offers Web users the best protection against malware With its new Application Reputation feature. NSS found that IE9 blocks malicious URLs more than 99% of the time. Microsoft continues to improve their IE malware protection in IE9 through its SmartScreen Filter technology and with the addition of SmartScreen Application Reputation technology," NSS reported.
The NSS study refers to malware URLs as links that entice users to download a malicious payload or visit a site known to host malware links. "With a unique URL blocking score of 99.9 percent and over time protection rating of 99.2 percent, Internet Explorer 9 was by far the best at protecting against socially engineered malware," they said. The over time protection rate for Google Chrome, for example, was 13.2 percent, while for Firefox 4 and Safari 5 it was 7.6 percent and for Opera 11, 6.1 percent.
Sophos's Chet Wisniewski challenged the claims made by NSS "Because IE9's unable to block exploits of such software as Adobe Reader and Flash, Apple's iTunes or Oracle 's Java, Microsoft's data doesn't show the real picture,".
NSS explained that social engineering malware remains the most common security threat facing Internet users today, claiming one third of Internet users as victims. Neither Microsoft nor any other browser maker sponsored the report.