Browser Test Crowns Edge as Most Secure

November 3, 2016 @ 10:15 AM
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1 min read

NSS Labs recently conducted a browser test of Google Chrome, Mozilla Firefox and Microsoft Edge. The researchers found that Edge — the default browser for Windows 10 — was more secure than the other two in terms of blocking socially engineered malware (SEM) and phishing attacks.

The study compared three browsers: Google Chrome version 53.0.2785; Microsoft Edge 38.14393.0.0; and Mozilla Firefox version 48.0.2. Of the 220,918 cases NSS analyzed, 5,224 were suspicious samples and 304 qualified for the test. The test was not sponsored and NSS received no compensation for performing it.

Edging the Competition

Softpedia reported that SmartScreen URL filtering and Application Reputation (App Rep) enabled Edge to block out 99 percent of the test cases. Chrome blocked a respectable 85.8 percent of the test samples, which NSS said is due in part to its URL filtering and download protection features. For its part, Firefox managed to stop 78.3 percent of the samples.

Edge also blew its competition out of the water in terms of blocking new SEM. It took less than 10 minutes for Edge to establish effective anti-SEM protection. Meanwhile, Chrome and Firefox took two hours and 39 minutes and three hours and 45 minutes, respectively, to accomplish the same task.

Microsoft Edge’s market share remains lower than the other two browsers, but that could be because of dissatisfaction with its predecessor, Internet Explorer. Studies such as this one may give some users the impetus to try out the new technology for themselves.

Browser Test Caveats

In a study like this, however, it’s important to compare apples to apples. Firefox is already in general release with version 49, for example. Each browser undergoes continuous change. Exact results from an older version may not reflect what is might happen when the most current release is exposed to the same data sets.

Larry Loeb
Principal, PBC Enterprises

Larry Loeb has written for many of the last century's major "dead tree" computer magazines, having been, among other things, a consulting editor for BYTE mag...
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