IE8 protects the security of users better than any other web browser

Internet Explorer 8 protects your security better than other web browsers. This is the conclusion from the most up-to-date scientific tests by NSS Labs. This conclusion can safely be considered the authoritative answer to the question of comparative security in currently available web browsers. NSS Labs is the global market-leader in independent security testing certification, and runs the world's largest laboratory for security and performance benchmarking.

Similar investigations published since IE8 was released document similar results. As always, positive news about IE8 leads to hot debate, and sure enough there is already a rapidly spreading wave of blogs and comments. Some people embrace the latest study, while others try to spin it or seek to offer a personalised interpretation. As usual, the anti-MS community takes refuge in the comfort of entrenched denial, refusing to accept anything that doesn't fit into their spurious paradigm.

By deliberately setting-up obstacles between users and the most secure web browser, Microsoft's enemies have actually succeeded in making the Internet less secure. Microsoft has been forced not only to remove IE8 from Windows 7, but also to provide free advertising in Windows for products by other companies. It is astonishing what some corporations can achieve by exploiting the corrupt, incompetent bureaucracy in Europe, and manipulating loyal fanboys in the anti-MS community.

The enemies of Microsoft conveniently overlook the "privileged position" enjoyed by their own favourite companies, as they roll along like stoned hippies on the old anti-MS bandwagon. Unashamed of their blatant hypocrisy and double-standards, they boastfully claim to serve the interests of fair trade. This is clearly a disingenuous boast, because they issue no objection to Safari on Mac, or Firefox on Linux. They queue-up to buy the iPhone which ships with its own web browser.

How unfortunate it is that the self-serving corporate machinations of the browser wars have undermined the security of ordinary Internet users.

20 August 2009

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Tim Acheson (21 Aug 09, 13:06)

Test results example: malware block-rate

Graph: Malware block rate (IE8 wins)

Tim Acheson (24 Aug 09, 11:48)

Yahoo advises all users to switch to IE8

A number of internet companies have reacted quickly to confirmation that IE8 is the safest web browser (by far).

E.g. Yahoo has started prompting users of its web portal to upgrade to IE8.

There is now a special upgrade to IE on Yahoo.com. Across the top of the page is a large graphic that reads "Internet Explorer 8. Optimised for Yahoo":-

When I view Yahoo's "upgrade to IE8" web page in the latest version of Firefox I'm prompted to upgrade to IE8, with a message at the top of the page that reads "It's Time to Upgrade (The New Internet Explorer 8: Faster, Safer, Easier)". This is the advice that appears on Yahoo's website if you're using any version of Firefox, Chrome, or Opera.

When I view Yahoo's "upgrade to IE8 page" in IE8, the message says "You are already using Internet Explorer 8 (Customize your experience with Yahoo! Toolbar)"

Offering an "optimised for us" version of IE is a good marketing strategy. Google is at it too, details will follow below... It's really just the same browser, just with some add-ons. Google.com loads faster in IE8 than it does in Google's own web browser, with or without any "optimised for" installer.

Tim Acheson (24 Aug 09, 11:59)

For anybody knowledgeable about web browsers, it’s very easy to understand why major web companies are now recommending IE8. Websites including Google.com and Yahoo are faster in IE8 and can beats new browsers like Google's Chrome. IE8 ticks all of the most important boxes; it's faster and more secure.

No wonder users are adopting IE8 so rapidly. If current browser usage trends continue, IE8 could overtake IE7 as the world's most popular web browser. (Extrapolating this month so far, it could happen as early as late November.) The graph clearly shows users migrating directly from IE7 to IE8, and the two lines for these browsers mirror each other.

Tim Acheson (24 Aug 09, 11:50)

Google's "upgrade to IE8" page

I did a search for "download IE" in Google, and the first result was an ad linking to Google's upgrade to IE page.

I decided to find out exactly what the "optimised for [website]" slogan, now being used by various internet companies offering IE8 downloads, really means. I can confirm that an "optimised for" version of IE8 is simply the current version of IE8. It's just the IE8 installer, which is clearly very flexible, with standard options like installing a toolbar, setting the default home page, etc.

To create a custom installer for IE8, just download the Internet Explorer Administration Kit and run the simple wizard. The IE Admin Kit makes it easy to create an installer for IE with settings that you choose. You could have an "optimised for this website" version of IE8 for your own site.

Tim Acheson (25 Sep 09, 10:29)

Google recently launched Chrome Frame for IE, which Microsoft warns is a security risk for IE users.

"With Internet Explorer 8, we made significant advancements and updates to make the browser safer for our customers," a Microsoft spokesperson told Ars. "Given the security issues with plugins in general and Google Chrome in particular, Google Chrome Frame running as a plugin has doubled the attach area for malware and malicious scripts. This is not a risk we would recommend our friends and families take." The spokesperson also referred us to the latest phishing and malware data from NSS Labs, the same security company that found IE8 was the most secure browser in August 2009 via two Microsoft-sponsored reports.
Tim Acheson (25 Sep 09, 10:29)

Also, Google trying to use HTML 5 as a political football, wielding it to bash MS and IE.

W3C aren’t very impressed by this, because HTML 5 is not yet a specification. It’s still draft:

www.w3.org/QA/2009/05/_watching_the_google_io.html

W3C even displays a warning on the draft in bold text saying if do implement it you should be prepared for problems later.

When the Wave dev team announced this on their blog, they instead of writing a useful post about an interesting development, instead Google used it as a soap-box for a viral anti-MS propaganda campaign, and the post was dominated by rhetoric which of course has been regurgitated widely online:-

"Unfortunately, Internet Explorer, still used by the majority of the Web's users, has not kept up with such fairly recent developments in Web technology. Compared with other browsers, the JavaScript performance is many times slower and HTML5 support is still far behind. Likewise, the many different versions of IE still in use -- each with its own set of CSS quirks and layout limitations -- further complicates building rich Web applications."

http :// googlewavedev . blogspot . com/2009/09/google-wave-in-internet-explorer.html

[To use the above URL please remove the spaces]


Wow...I'm not certain what to say about the absurd amount of Microsoft propaganda that's being spouted on this entry (not to muntion throughout your site).

But I suppose that's not entirely difficult to understand, seeing that you live in a .NET framework. Don't get me wrong. C#.NET is a fantastic simply a joy when it comes to desktop app development. However, web developers who live in the .NET world are somehow completely oblivious to the fallacies of IE. I suppose it's simply magical that HTML, CSS, and javascript all magically work as expected in the other major browsers but require patches and workarounds in IE.

When talking about speed, you do realize that javascript interpretation speed is most of the battle in modern day web browsers. Look at the IE blog. They openly admit that even their "experimental" js engine in IE9 is still slower than the release versions of other browsers. Go run a javascript benchmark in IE, compare it to other browsers, and see for yourself.

So yes, MS can do good things. However, in the webspace, they've been screwing up since day one. IE is only one example. Don't even get me started on the way that they've taken email back a good 10 years with Outlook '07 and '10.

And when it comes to the "political football" of standards, there is great technology that's been used for years that IE has refused to implement (is a canvas tag and rounded corners too much to ask?) and the excuse has been "the standard is not yet 'standardized'" But who do you think is defining the standard? The web developers and other browser developers with real-world use. So let MS continue to sit on the sidelines as they have. They will just continue to steadily lose market share as people lose this whole logic-defying rabid "fan boy" syndrome that is so prevalent on your site.

Tim Acheson (06 Jan 10, 12:42)

David, I'll do my best to respond to your points.

I'm citing research findings reported by the world's foremost independent authority. I fail to see how this can be interpreted as "propaganda". You quantify the "amount" of material presented by me on this website as "absurd" which sounds a lot like meaningless rhetoric.

I would concur with your evaluation of the Microsoft web platform as "fantastic" and "a joy" but of course I cannot agree with you that web developers who use .NET are "somehow completely oblivious to the fallacies of IE".

You raise an interesting point about the impact of JavaScript execution on performance. The blog post to which you refer is, of course, reporting on the Beta of IE9. I'm familiar with that blog post. Let's wait benchmark the finished product before we draw any conclusions. And let's not over-simplify this complex issue. Different benchmarks produce different results. (The data to which you refer are from benchmarking tests designed by a commercial rival of Microsoft.) Your assertion that JavaScript speed is "most of the battle in modern day web browsers" actually ignores the majority of websites which exhibit minimal client-side scripting. There are various other important factors which must be balanced against speed, e.g. security. Remember -- having good web developers who don't write bad, slow applications is just as important as creating browsers fast enough to cope with any JavaScript that developers write! Dave, have you written JavaScript applications which are affected by performance issues? (I haven't -- not in any web browser.)

Please do explain your belief that Microsoft has been "been screwing up" the web. "Don't even get me started," you wrote, but that sounds a lot like a cop-out.

If you want to "let MS continue to sit on the sidelines" you could be in for a long wait. MS have never been "on the sidelines" -- for years they have been the market-leader in almost every market in which they operate, and they are still on top. They've faced a lot of criticism, and they've had a lot of improvements to make, and they're making the necessary improvements.

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