Feeds

Google questions tests that praise IE's bad website blocker

Er, they're testing against Chrome 6

Protecting users from Firesheep and other Sidejacking attacks with SSL

The methodology of tests that found IE is tops for blocking a particular type of malware attack have come under fire from Google.

NSS Labs was commissioned by Microsoft to access the ability of browser to block socially engineered malware attack URLs. The exercise focused on the effectiveness of in-built browser technology to block access to malware portals or sites known to be contaminated with malicious code (e.g. scareware portals). Such protection should be supplemented by anti-virus protection, as NSS makes clear.

The tests found that Internet Explorer 9 beta had a 99 per cent detection rate of malicious URLs, IE 8 hit a creditable 90 per cent, with Firefox 3.6 on 19 per cent, Safari 5 hit 11 per cent in the benchmark with Google's Chrome 6 browser achieving just three pre cent. Standalone Opera offered no protection from this type of attack, according to the tests.

Microsoft commissioned the results as a private benchmark, authorising their publication on the receipt of favourable results. That's not the only reason to question whether the tests should be read at face value. The exercise was conducted with Chrome 6 even though the latest version of the open sauce browser is Chrome 8. In a statement, Google defended the overall security of its browser and questioned the value of NSS's tests.

These sponsored tests are limited in their sole focus on socially engineered malware, while excluding vulnerabilities in plug-ins or browsers themselves. Additionally, the testing methodology isn't available in a way that can be independently verified. Google Chrome was built with security in mind from the beginning and emphasizes protection of users from drive-by downloads and plug-in vulnerabilities — for example, we recently introduced a new security sandbox for Flash Player.

Security testing is often a contentious business, with even the methodology of unpaid, independent tests from the likes of Virus Bulletin coming into question from time to time. That observation goes double for sponsored tests, especially those that focus on a narrow security metric, however competent the actual testers, and NSS has some of the best in the industry. ®

The next step in data security

More from The Register

next story
Israeli spies rebel over mass-snooping on innocent Palestinians
'Disciplinary treatment will be sharp and clear' vow spy-chiefs
Infosec geniuses hack a Canon PRINTER and install DOOM
Internet of Stuff securo-cockups strike yet again
THREE QUARTERS of Android mobes open to web page spy bug
Metasploit module gobbles KitKat SOP slop
'Speargun' program is fantasy, says cable operator
We just might notice if you cut our cables
Apple Pay is a tidy payday for Apple with 0.15% cut, sources say
Cupertino slurps 15 cents from every $100 purchase
YouTube, Amazon and Yahoo! caught in malvertising mess
Cisco says 'Kyle and Stan' attack is spreading through compromised ad networks
Hackers pop Brazil newspaper to root home routers
Step One: try default passwords. Step Two: Repeat Step One until success
Greater dev access to iOS 8 will put us AT RISK from HACKERS
Knocking holes in Apple's walled garden could backfire, says securo-chap
prev story

Whitepapers

Providing a secure and efficient Helpdesk
A single remote control platform for user support is be key to providing an efficient helpdesk. Retain full control over the way in which screen and keystroke data is transmitted.
Saudi Petroleum chooses Tegile storage solution
A storage solution that addresses company growth and performance for business-critical applications of caseware archive and search along with other key operational systems.
Security and trust: The backbone of doing business over the internet
Explores the current state of website security and the contributions Symantec is making to help organizations protect critical data and build trust with customers.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.