Study finds Internet Explorer to be malware blocking king

Martin Brinkmann
Sep 28, 2012
Updated • Aug 15, 2018
Firefox, Google Chrome, Internet Explorer

Which web browser with its default configuration is best at blocking malware? According to a recent NSS Labs study it is Microsoft's Internet Explorer 9 as it performed better than other web browsers during a recent NSS Labs study.

Want some numbers? Microsoft's Internet Explorer blocked 94% of general malware and 96.6% of click fraud the researchers threw at the browser. All other browsers performed a lot worse in the test.

Google Chrome, which came second in both tests, blocked only 27.6% of malware and only 1.6% of click fraud.

Firefox performed even worse, blocking only 5% of malware and 0.8% of click fraud. Safari 5 came last stopping 4.7% of malware and 0.7% of click fraud in its tracks.

The developers tested the web browsers over a period of 175 days against a set of 84,000 malicious urls running a total of more than 3 million test runs. Browser versions were updated automatically when new versions were released by the developers of the web browser.

Internet Explorer's SmartScreen technology was highly effective in blocking a large percentage of malware and click fraud on day one of release. The security feature is enabled by default in the browser and runs also on the underlying Windows system. Users may have noticed its Windows protected your PC prompts before.

Chrome's performance is better than that of Firefox and Safari thanks to is malicious download module which blocks downloads that it considers to be malicious.

As far as click fraud goes it is not that relevant to end users as it is affecting advertisers and webmasters directly. It basically revolves around generating clicks on ads with the sole intention of driving the revenue of a site or network up. In this particular study, only click fraud urls were monitored. The researchers noted that users sometimes were infected with malware as a by-product of click fraud.

click fraud

You can download both studies in pdf document format by following these links: malware and click fraud.

Update: Both documents are no longer available.

NSS Labs in the past accepted sponsorships to conduct studies. For this particular study, no such sponsorship was accepted according to the company.

Closing Words

Browsers like Firefox or Google Chrome offer extensions that add protection to the browser. Add-ons like NoScript or Adblocker would likely have improved the efficiency when it comes to malware and click fraud blocking in browsers.

It is still interesting to see how well Internet Explorer performed in the test. While this won't convince me to make the browser my default, it should be reassuring to Windows users who work with the browser on a day to day basis.

Study finds Internet Explorer to be malware blocking king
Article Name
Study finds Internet Explorer to be malware blocking king
A recent browser security study by NSS Labs suggest that Microsoft's Internet Explorer is better at blocking malware and threats than other browsers.
Ghacks Technology News

Tutorials & Tips

Previous Post: «
Next Post: «


  1. boris said on September 29, 2012 at 12:19 am

    Relying on just browser against click fraud is stupid. You need anti-virus for that.

  2. Morely the IT Guy said on September 28, 2012 at 3:53 pm

    According to non-Microsoft-sponsored Web sites, NSS Labs testing methods are suspect, at best. For example, three years ago NSS reported pretty much the same thing about IE8:

    Bottom line: NSS Labs will adjust the test methods to produce the results desired by their sponsor (Microsoft), rather than conduct unbiased and independent tests.

    How much does get paid for these Microsoft advertisements?

  3. Nate said on September 28, 2012 at 3:01 pm

    Would you kindly stop spamming this website with microsoft sponsored propaganda ?

    Your content is nice, but this is absolutely ridiculous, either your product works or it doesn’t. Putting stats in there is absolutely ridiculous. No browser is secure.

    1. bazza said on September 28, 2012 at 3:54 pm

      are you serious? this is like the 4th internet explorer related article in the entire year compared to many Chrome, Firefox and even android stuff.

      just cos’ IE gets good news its immediately propaganda or conspiracy.

      yes you don’t like and use IE, but don’t shit on it cos’ it does some good things, no one is forcing you away from your browser of choice.

      1. Todd S. said on September 28, 2012 at 4:10 pm

        It’s one thing to claim IE is competitive or even better, but a discrepancy of that magnitude would need correlative evidence for any serious researcher to believe it. I’m guessing NSS’s testing methods are themselves proprietary and thus not reproducible by others.

  4. ilev said on September 28, 2012 at 11:42 am

    “NSS Labs in the past accepted sponsorships to conduct studies..”

    NSS Lab is sponsored by Microsoft.

    1. veli said on September 28, 2012 at 12:24 pm

      “4. This report does not constitute an endorsement, recommendation, or guarantee of any of the products (hardware or software) tested or the hardware and software used in testing the products. The testing does not guarantee that there are no errors or defects in the products or that the products will meet the reader’s expectations, requirements, needs, or specifications, or that they will operate without interruption.”

      ^ says otherwise.

      1. anony said on September 28, 2012 at 1:43 pm

        Sure, it’s so believable.

Leave a Reply

Check the box to consent to your data being stored in line with the guidelines set out in our privacy policy

We love comments and welcome thoughtful and civilized discussion. Rudeness and personal attacks will not be tolerated. Please stay on-topic.
Please note that your comment may not appear immediately after you post it.