Internet Explorer 9 was the best at protecting against socially engineered malware, says NSS
Socially engineered malware (SEM) remains the most common security threat facing Internet users today, claiming one third of internet users as victims, according to security testing organization NSS Labs.
These attacks threaten to compromise, damage, or acquire sensitive personal and corporate information from individuals and organizations.
Over the last 12 months, users from America and Europe have found themselves particular targets of malware authors.
While Asian users have been victims of the greatest number of malicious URLs, North America has consistently been the primary host of malicious URLs, NSS said in its latest Web Browser Security Comparative Test Reports against Socially-Engineered Malware for the third quarter of 2011.
Cybercriminals are taking advantage of the implied trust relationships inherent in social networking sites, including Facebook, MySpace, Skyrock, LinkedIn, and Orkut, among others, and user-contributed content such as blogs, and Twitter, which allow for rapid publishing and anonymity.
Security vendors face a significant challenge from the speed at which these threats are "rotated" to new locations, the report said.
Among the five browsers (Apple Safari, Google Chrome 12, Windows Internet Explorer 9, Mozilla Firefox 4, Opera 11) tested in the report, IE9, Chrome, and Opera showing improvement, while Firefox and Safari decreased in protection, compared to Q3 2010 test.
IE9 achieved over 99% in protection results through its SmartScreen Filter technology and with the addition of SmartScreen Application Reputation technology, said the report, adding that browsers can offer an additional layer of protection beyond antivirus.
NSS, however, found that not all vendor implementations and daily operations yield the same results.
With a unique URL blocking score of 99.9% and over-time protection rating of 99.2%, Internet Explorer 9 was by far the best at protecting against socially-engineered malware.