Internet Explorer 8 Tops Security List

NSS Labs has released a surprising report showing that Internet Explorer 8 blocks social engineered malware (malware that tricks people into performing tasks or allowing functions unknowingly). According to their report, IE 8 offered more protection than Firefox 3.6. Safari 5, Chrome 6, or Opera 10.

Ask pretty much any computer nerd and he (or she) is going to tell you that there is something bogus about this survey. No one in the know would consider using Internet Explorer.

What the report could reveal, though, is that IE 8 works better than previously thought. The reason that computer nerds go for Firefox and less popular internet browsers could have something to do with their specific needs. In general, hackers are not using clickjacks, phishing, and other types of social engineered malware to attack people who know  a lot about computers. They want to target people who, quite frankly, don’t know what’s going on and are very naive. They are easy targets.

While it is commonly held that Firefox offers better protection than Internet Explorer, it could be that IE actually offers better protection for the average user. Firefox users typically install additional applications that customize their experiences. Installing additional security makes Firefox safer, but average people who don’t know much about internet security technology probably don’t know how to maximize that protection. For these people, IE works well right “out of the box.” They don’t have to worry about setting up anything extra. They just open the program and start surfing the web.

In bare bones versions, IE might beat its competitors. Thinking that you are really safe by using the basic IE 8, however, could lead you to fall for clickjacks and phishing schemes that you can only prevent by knowing how to spot them.

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