Tech – for Everyone

Tech Tips and Tricks & Advice – written in plain English.

Which Browser Blocks The Most Malware? Surprise!

In Q2 of 2011, NSS Labs performed a test of web browser protection against socially-engineered malware targeting users around the globe.

Socially-engineered malware is a widespread problem, claiming one third of internet users as victims. The use of free browser-based reputation systems to assist in the fight against socially-engineered malware is a strong use of cloud technologies. However, in this global test of socially-engineered malware, we found that not all vendor implementations and daily operations yield the same results.

So who did the best at blocking online threats? The result of one lab’s tests may surprise you.

Windows Internet Explorer 9 (IE9) caught an exceptional 99.2% of live threats. Read more..

(A full report of their tests is available as a PDF download. Anyone interested in the true state of Internet insecurity should take a quick read.. pick up a few interesting [and scary] factoids.)

Today’s quote:A pessimist sees only the dark side of the clouds, and mopes; a philosopher sees both sides, and shrugs; an optimist doesn’t see the clouds at all – he’s walking on them.” ~ Leonard Louis Levinson

Copyright 2007-2011 © “Tech Paul” (Paul Eckstrom). All Rights Reserved.


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October 8, 2011 - Posted by | advice, browsers, computers, hackers, IE 9, Internet, security, software | , , , , , , ,

27 Comments »

  1. I just perused through the PDF. I use Firefox and I am not changing at the moment. They used FF v4 in this test. v7 is out now. And I use many security add ons with my FF. NTM, I have my browser running in a SandBoxie environment and I back it up EVERY day with FEBE. I like to tweak my browser and make it my own. With 37 add ons..I guess so :)

    But good for MS..after 9 browsers..they finally know what to do.. Impressive?

    Like

    Comment by delenn13 | October 9, 2011 | Reply

    • delenn13,
      I only have 14 add-ons. (To see my personal list of Firefox security add-ons, click here.) But, like you, due to those add ons, I will not be “switching back” just yet.. at least not on my primary machine.

      (a brief aside: There was the period before rampant cybercrime, and then there’s now. I put the ‘innocent days’ as being pre-2007.. roughly, the days of Windows XP and IE 6. So.. really, this is their 3rd browser where security is even a factor..)

      Backups and sandboxing? Yay! If you’ll forgive the sexist element of the following, allow me to give you a “atta girl! and a Tech Paul silver star. While I consider those things “fundamentals”, and frequently urge folks to adopt, I do so in spite of the fact it kills my ratings.

      .. The only winner of my coveted FOTIS Award last year was Sandboxie.

      Like

      Comment by techpaul | October 9, 2011 | Reply

  2. Woohoo! A silver star! Thanks. Yea, I love my Sandboxie. What is the neatest thing..When the kids come over, I throw them in the Sandbox and when they leave..Just delete it all.. No muss no fuss!

    Here’s a list of all my addons..Compliments of Extension List Dumper. I know some say Incompatible but they aren’t..just forced.

    Application: Firefox 6.0.2 (20110902133214)
    Operating System: WINNT (x86-msvc)

    October 10, 2011

    Total number of items: 37

    · Adblock Plus 1.3.10
    http://adblockplus.org/en/
    Ads were yesterday!

    · Add-on Compatibility Reporter 0.9.2
    https://addons.mozilla.org/en-US/firefox/addon/add-on-compatibility-reporter/?src=api
    Allows add-on compatibility issues to be reported to Mozilla

    · Autofill 3.5
    http://www.tohodo.com/
    Fill form fields automatically on page load.

    · BarTab 2.0 (Incompatible)
    https://addons.mozilla.org/firefox/addon/67651
    Drink now, pay later: put your tabs on your bar tab!

    · BetterPrivacy 1.67
    http://netticat.ath.cx/extensions.html
    “Super-Cookie Safeguard”

    · checkCompatibility 1.2
    https://addons.mozilla.org/firefox/addon/checkcompatibility/
    Reinstates the extensions.checkCompatibility preference.

    · CoLT 2.5.2
    http://www.borngeek.com/firefox/colt/
    Makes it easy to copy link text and locations.

    · CoolPreviews 3.5
    http://www.coolpreviews.com
    Browse Faster. Preview and share links and media without leaving your current page.

    · deskCut 0.6.0.3
    http://deskcut.mozdev.org
    Create desktop shortcuts from the context-menu. Windows, Linux and Mac supported.

    · DownloadHelper 4.9.5
    http://www.downloadhelper.net
    Download videos and images from many sites

    · DownThemAll! 2.0.7
    http://downthemall.net/
    The mass downloader for Firefox.

    · eCleaner 1.4
    https://addons.mozilla.org/en-US/firefox/addon/ecleaner/
    Clears preferences left by extensions after uninstallation
    – Email This! Bookmarklet Extension 2.3.0
    http://www.lazyrussian.com/my-projects/email-this-firefox-extension/
    Email This! will send your recipient the link, title, and a selected summary of the webpage you are viewing.

    · Evernote Web Clipper 5.0.0.177572
    http://www.evernote.com/
    Provides a button and context menus to easily add a selection or an entire page to Evernote

    · Extension List Dumper 1.15.2
    http://www.sogame.cat/
    Dumps a list of the installed extensions.

    · FEBE 7.0.2
    http://softwarebychuck.com/
    Backup your Firefox data

    · FireShot 0.93
    http://screenshot-program.com/fireshot/
    Adds the ability to take a screenshot of the page entirely, edit it and save in (JPEG, GIF, PNG or BMP), print, copy to clipboard, send to external editor or e-mail it. Additional annotation tools (text, freeform drawing, highlights) provide quick and easy way of documenting of captures.

    · Flashblock 1.5.15.1
    http://flashblock.mozdev.org/
    Replaces Flash objects with a button you can click to view them.

    · Freemake Video Converter Plugin 1.0.0
    http://www.freemake.com
    Free Video Converter to AVI, MP4, WMV, MKV, SWF, 3GP, MPEG, DVD, Blu-ray, MP3, iPod, iPhone, iPad, PSP, PS3, Android, YouTube.

    · Freemake Video Downloader Plugin 1.0.0
    http://www.freemake.com
    Download video free from YouTube, Hulu, Facebook, MTV, ComedyCentral, Dailymotion, Megavideo, Metacafe, Vimeo, Break, 40+ sites with our Free Video Downloader

    · HTTPS-Everywhere 1.0.3
    https://www.eff.org/https-everywhere
    Encrypt the Web! Automatically use HTTPS security on many sites.

    · IE View 1.4.5.1
    http://ieview.mozdev.org/
    Open pages in IE via Firefox menus

    · ImTranslator 4.5
    http://www.smartlinkcorp.com
    Starts Smart Link Translator via right-click or Tools menu.

    · Interclue 1.6.3 (Incompatible)
    http://interclue.com/
    The ultimate link augmentation multitool

    · Java Console 6.0.27 (Incompatible)

    · Java Quick Starter 1.0

    · KeyScrambler 2.8.2.0
    http://www.qfxsoftware.com
    KeyScrambler protects you against keyloggers

    · LastPass 1.74.0
    http://lastpass.com/
    Last Password you will ever need

    · Memory Fox 7.4
    http://www.browsermemory.com/
    A Mozilla Firefox Memory Recovery and Retention Add-On

    · NoScript 2.1.4
    http://noscript.net
    Extra protection for your Firefox: NoScript allows JavaScript, Java (and other plugins) only for trusted domains of your choice (e.g. your home-banking web site). This whitelist based pre-emptive blocking approach prevents exploitation of security vulnerabilities (known and even unknown!) with no loss of functionality… Experts will agree: Firefox is really safer with NoScript :-)

    · PDF Download 3.0.0.2
    http://www.pdfdownload.org
    Allows you to choose what to do with a PDF file: download it, view it with an external viewer or view it as HTML.

    · ShowIP 1.0
    http://code.google.com/p/firefox-showip/
    Show the IP address of the current page in the status bar. It also allows querying custom services by IP (right mouse button) and Hostname (left mouse button), like whois, netcraft. Additionally you can copy the IP address to the clipboard. This extension was formerly known as ipv6ident. License GPLv2 only.

    · Snagit Firefox Extension 1.2.1 (Incompatible)
    http://www.techsmith.com/redirect.asp?product=snagit&lang=enu&target=powertoyfirefoxhome
    Captures images, scrolling web pages and more right from Firefox!

    · Stay-Open Menu 1.5.10
    http://www.shadetreeapiary.com/extension/
    Facilitates opening multiple items from the Bookmarks Menu and various other bookmark/history/tab related dropdown menus.

    · Tab Utilities 1.1
    http://addons.mozilla.org/addon/59961
    Open Bookmarks/History/URL/Search in new tabs, and more utilities for tabbed browsing.

    · URL shortening and photo uploader combo for twitter 1.5
    http://blog.socialwhale.com/2009/04/30/social-whale-firefox-extension/
    URL shortening and photo uploader combo for twitter using twt.gs and twitpic.com – (c) 2009

    · WOT 20110704
    http://www.mywot.com/
    Web of trust.

    Your spam filter is probably gonna have a “Hay Day” with this list. Probably will take my silver star away from me.

    Like

    Comment by delenn13 | October 10, 2011 | Reply

    • delenn13,
      It seems to me I read somewhere (or maybe some old-timer told me) that long ago, when there was no Internet or iPods, and dinosaurs roamed the earth, parents would fill a large wooden box with sand (from the beach, type sand) and plonk their children down in it to play. (I could be wrong about that.)
      I love your “modern day version” of that!

      As for your list: I did spend some time cleaning up the text, but your TP Silver Star is safe – and I thank you for sharing with us. It is clear to me that you have spent more time exploring the wonderful world of Firefox Add-ons than I have (I only recognized about 2/3rd’s {maybe a bit more} of them). There’s a few there I am eager to try.. as soon as time allows.

      Like

      Comment by techpaul | October 10, 2011 | Reply

  3. delenn13,

    I have some FF add ons based on techpaul’s article/recommendations, however, I saw some on your list that I want to a try as well.

    In terms of Sandboxie, will it work with Win7? I tried it with Vista a while back and it just made my screen giggle.

    Does it conflict with avast! Free version since it has its on sandbox, however you can not turn that one on and off at will

    Thanks for another great article techpaul, but like you and delenn13, I am staying with FF.

    Like

    Comment by ebony | October 10, 2011 | Reply

    • ebony,
      I have not experienced any issues with using Sandboxie to “sandbox” my web browser on either Vista, or machines with Avast! .. or machines with Vista+Avast!, so I guess all I can say is “your experience may vary”, and give it a try.

      Also, I am running it on both 32-bit and 64-bit versions of Windows 7 as we speak.

      Like

      Comment by techpaul | October 10, 2011 | Reply

  4. Sandboxie works great for me on Win7… To quote TechPaul, I would feel naked without it! The only time I don’t use it is for updates.

    Cheers!

    Like

    Comment by kstinman | October 10, 2011 | Reply

    • kstinman,
      Me too.

      And, sadly, on today’s Internet, I would feel naked without it.

      Folks, Sandboxie was the 2010 winner of my coveted FOTIS Award. (Click the link, and read why.)

      Like

      Comment by techpaul | October 10, 2011 | Reply

  5. Sorry for the lapse in posting…It’s Thanksgiving here. So kinda busy. Plus I am watching a “Not Ready for Prime Time” app bundle for smartphones(which I am thinking of getting) for charity like the Humble Bundles(Love the Humble Bundles..have them ALL) being announced by CNet and the developers don’t even have it set with the Android Market Place. Not to mention no ticker/progress bar.. (Whiskey Tango Foxtrot!) It’s all coming out on Twitter. Too funny!

    @TechPaul Yes, I know. I was one of those plunkees. Used to make some cool sand castles and no waves to knock it down.

    @ebony I, at the moment, am using XP; but kstinman and Techpaul seems to have answered that. I have Win 7(still in the box..don’t ask.)

    I am using MSSE(fewer FP’s and it doesn’t slow my PC down). So can’t help you there either.

    The 3 most fav of all my addons..FEBE(for backup), BarTab(because Ii usually have about 50 tabs open) and Deskcut(I need to be able to make shortcuts.)

    Like

    Comment by delenn13 | October 10, 2011 | Reply

    • Happy Thanksgiving, delenn13!

      Like

      Comment by techpaul | October 10, 2011 | Reply

      • Thanks!

        Dang, that game bundle won’t be ready until tomorrow..Way to lose business.
        On Twitter: ” Android Version of the Corona Indie Bundle available tomorrow. Sorry for the delay.” Was gonna relax with a few new games..Oh, well…maybe shoot some zombies instead.

        Like

        Comment by delenn13 | October 10, 2011 | Reply

        • delenn13,
          While I have not had any first hand experience shooting zombies since my days absorbed in Duke Nukem 3D (wait.. those were mutants..) .. I have been told that it can have therapeutic properties.

          (I shoot digital humans ala Call of Duty.)

          Folks, delenn13 mentioned the Humble Bundles (above) which I have recommended here before. They are rather neat “pay what you want” collections of what I think of as ‘passtime games’ (aka do not need a high-powered gaming rig) and paying helps support a choice of charities. To check out their website, click here.

          Like

          Comment by techpaul | October 10, 2011 | Reply

          • It’s therapy for me. i have arthritis in my fingers, neck and spinal cord. So between exercise and pain meds(it’s why i ramble a bit/a lot), I play games to keep my mind off the pain.

            The Humble Bundle is almost up to a million again. And 1 day left. Games all total are $98.00 but can pay the average which is under $5.00 if you like.

            This new one [url=http://news.cnet.com/8301-13845_3-20116231-58/get-5-indie-games-android-ios-for-99-cents/?tag=nl.e796]Get 5 indie games (Android, iOS) for 99 cents | The Cheapskate – CNET News[/url]..I don’t know anything about… I do know they are not organized. No progress bar..since they are promising a 6th game if over a 100,000 downloads so that would be nice to see. The Android side won’t be ready until tomorrow and I had to Twitter and ask how long it lasts..They said 2 months.

            So this is my recommendation, since it is gonna last 2 months. WAIT!!! Read comments, follow them on Twitter..check their website…[url=http://www.coronaindiebundle.com/]Corona Indie Bundle – 5 Hit Indie Games for Only $0.99. Available for iOS and Android.[/url] then decide if you want to buy. They say the games are worth $8.00 all total.

            Like

            Comment by delenn13 | October 10, 2011 | Reply

            • delenn13,
              I am sorry to hear that you are one of those who must do their best and live with chronic pain, And I do wish that the field of medicine could achieve some .. breakthrough in that area, and do so mucho muy mas pronto.

              I would not wish it on my worst enemy..

              I am not sure what to say to you.. (I’m 100% awkward at these kinds of things) so I will only say that I do truly and sincerely hope that your “good days” far, far outnumber those not-so-good days.

              Like

              Comment by techpaul | October 10, 2011 | Reply

              • @Techpaul,
                Thanks for the good wishes. They do offer some great drugs, all highly addictive. So I live on the OTC stuff. The pain I have learned to live with; it’s the migraines that take me down for days. :( The memory losses is the worst part. Anyways…

                The Android side of the Corona Indie Bundle games are still not up from what I can see. The Humble Bundle cracked a million again.

                I see the BB Code didn’t work. You must use HTML(How to Make Lasagna)?

                Life goes on. :) And I got to cut the last of(maybe..depends on the weather) my Swiss chard in the garden.

                Like

                Comment by delenn13 | October 11, 2011 | Reply

                • delenn13,
                  Yes, WordPress uses HTML. (I made the first URL “clickable” myself .. but didn’t have time to do the second [but I agree with your summation of “wait”..])

                  I can only empathize, and sympathize, with those whose lives include constant “pain management”…
                  (As soon as I am elected Supreme Benevolent Dictator Of All Things, I will outlaw chronic pain [and snow – except on certain mountain tops].)(Remember folks, vote early, and vote often!)

                  I will not comment on swiss chard.

                  Like

                  Comment by techpaul | October 11, 2011 | Reply

  6. Wow. I’ll have to take a look at that study, and figure out some more addons or security features on Google Chrome, which is my preferred browser. Love, love, love it. Haven’t had much trouble with malware so far, and I detest Internet Explorer…but that is just me. Thanks for the info!

    Like

    Comment by Samantha | October 10, 2011 | Reply

  7. Now that i look at the results more carefully, at least the Firefox and Chrome versions were old, I’m not sure about Opera or Safari. If I recall correctly, IE9 is the most recent version. It’s not accurate research if they are using old versions. :/

    Like

    Comment by Samantha | October 10, 2011 | Reply

    • Samantha,
      While I hope you think I am not arguing with you (‘cuz I’m not) I think it fair to assume that they (the lab) did not intentionally skew the results.. Nor do I know exactly how much better the latest versions would do (though, it is probably safe to assume better than the older version).

      I think it’s more a matter of the fact that Chrome, and more so Firefox, seem to come out with a new version every time you blink… (almost a non-exaggeration!)

      As I said (above), I am not switching from my fave browser to IE9. And I am not hinting that anyone else should.
      But I do feel better about my non-Geeky friends and family who stick with Internet Explorer (and “average computer users” everywhere).

      I’ll conclude by repeating the adage – the best antivirus is between the ears. Staying away from porn and “file sharing” sites is a good way to start….

      Good to see you here again!

      Like

      Comment by techpaul | October 10, 2011 | Reply

      • Oh don’t worry, I don’t think you’re arguing. That is true and something I didn’t think about, I’m just fresh-ish out of a research class and the results kind of me made me rage a little :) Yeah, I guess that is true to know that IE9 is helping the less computer-savvy of our family and friends. I’m probably going to have to clean out my parents’ computer sometime soon.

        Like

        Comment by Samantha | October 10, 2011 | Reply

        • Samantha,
          Well I think those were the latest at the time the study was conducted. But I do applaud your careful reading and critical thinking. In fact, I am going to award you a TP Silver Star too.

          Because yes, one must look carefully. I forget who it was that said it.. but there’s a ‘scale’ of falsehoods (I paraphrase): “there’s lies. Then there’s *darn* lies. And then there’s statistics.”

          Like

          Comment by techpaul | October 10, 2011 | Reply

  8. To be fair, I think at the time of the experiment/test FireFox v4 was, probably, the most current at the time. Mozilla has had a rash of version changes in the past few months. I am still on 6 and V7 is out now. I haven’t felt like updating them because I have 3 PC’s. We each have our own PC and then if anything is wrong or we are running something on the main PCs..we have the 3rd one. I have 2 versions of FF on the 3rd one..with each of our profiles. So I have my FF and he has his..with all addons, settings etc.

    Like

    Comment by delenn13 | October 10, 2011 | Reply

  9. Wow, I can’t believe how much malware Internet Explorer 9 blocks compared to the other browsers! Once more people find out about these survey results, I bet some will switch to Internet Explorer 9 from their existing browsers. In addition to malware blocking, what do you think is another important feature for a browser?

    Like

    Comment by Alexandra Lawrenz (@TuneUp4Windows) | October 18, 2011 | Reply

    • Alexandra Lawrenz,
      It’s good to see you here again, and that is a good question! Firefox is my browser, because of the add-ons NoScript, Adblock Plus, Flash Blocker — because the Internet is not just the cybercriminal’s playground, but there are other vile humans there too…

      I won’t use IE9 until I can find an effective way to block advertisements with it.
      (And, yes, I’m serious. I stopped watching TV; largely due to finally getting fed up with the advertising [the ‘straw’ was the pharmaceuticals commercials].)

      Like

      Comment by techpaul | October 18, 2011 | Reply


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