Which Web Browser Blocks Malware and Catches Click Fraud Best?

Recent tests performed by NSS Labs to measure the ability of web browsers to block malware and catch click fraud found that Microsoft IE9 blew away Google Chrome, Mozilla Firefox and Apple Safari.

NSS subjected Apple Safari 5, Google Chrome 15-19, Microsoft Internet Explorer 9 and Mozilla Firefox 7-13 to over 3 million test runs against over 84,000 URLs determined to be active and malicious out of a unique sample set of 227,841. NSS Labs found in its 75-day review called “Is your Browser Putting You at Risk?”, that IE9’s malware block rate was 95%, Chrome had a rate varying from 13% to 74% while Firefox and Safari trailed far behind at 6% a piece.

NSS Labs says browser protection includes an “‘in-the-cloud’ reputation-based system that scours the Internet for malicious websites and categorizes content accordingly, either by adding it to a black or white list, or assigning a score (depending on the vendor’s approach).”

According to the report when a browser detects that a site is “Bad” it will re-direct the user to a warning message or page informing them that the URL is malicious. And sometimes the browser will even instruct the user that content is malicious or should be cancelled.

NSS Labs also says it has determined that the SafeBrowsing API 2.0, which provides reputation services for executable files, has been integrated into Google’s Chrome browser but not Firefox or Apple’s Safari.

NSS Labs also tested the browsers for protection against click fraud, a crime that abuses pay-per-click advertising through use of malware infection. Click fraud “causes minimal direct harm to the typical end user, as the ultimate target is the ad buyer,” according to the report.

The click fraud catch rates according to the tests were: IE9 at 96.6%, followed by Chrome at 1.6%, Firefox at 0.8% and Safari at 0.7%. The lab notes the average lifespan of a click fraud URL was 32 hours with over 50% expiring within 54 hours.

NSS Labs recommends that ad buyers “put pressure on Google to increase the click fraud protection capabilities of Chrome and the SafeBrowsing API.”

The NSS Labs browser-security test reports are available in two parts. Here’s Part 1 and Here’s Part 2.

Source: Network World

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