Microsoft has launched a new marketing campaign promoting its web browser.
Just like the TV campaign, the focus is once again security and is at least partially based on the results recently published by security company NSS Labs. This time, the campaign appears to be on the Internet and enables users to instantly test the security of their browser and get a dose of reality just how secure or vulnerable the software is. Before you run the test, let me advise you that, unless you use IE9 or IE10, you won't like what you see.
Only IE scores a full score of 4 possible points. The current version of Chrome (14) ends up at 2.5 and Firefox (7) at 2. If you are still using Firefox 3.6, you get only 1.5. The breakdown, according to the website is that both Chrome and Firefox do not protect users against dangerous downloads. However, Microsoft's criteria are limited to socially engineered malware (which refers to the test conducted by NSS Labs) and "distinct" download warnings against apps that are not yet confirmed as malware.
According to Microsoft, Chrome and Firefox are just as good in phishing protection as IE and Chrome even trumps IE in two out of seven criteria describing browser attacks (while Chrome also two other disciplines against IE). Firefox is the worst browser in direct attack vulnerability, according to Microsoft. Both Chrome and Firefox lose against IE in website attack protection.
Of course, one may argue that rating a browser's security on 16 hand-picked features may be problematic. It may be difficult to build a case on those claims, especially if IE has only three gaps while Chrome comes in with seven misses and Firefox 7 with nine. Could Mozilla have picked 16 categories that would have made IE look bad? Sure. Could Google have slanted the criteria to its faster update cycle? Of course. On the fairness side, Microsoft does offer download links to all three browsers.