Forum Thread: Internet Explorer Investigation

I was checking out Microsoft's IE page, and I found this official graph that showed performance, and safety. Take a look at both of them.

This one is for speed (ms):

This one is for security (although this sounds a bit suspicious):

99.9%? Really? There's a catch somewhere...


Now, both of these seem crazy at first thought, because, let's be honest, when has IE ever been fast compared to Chrome? And what about the 99.9% of blocked malware...? If you have ever met a Firefox fan, you will know that Firefox has a reputation for being probably the safest browser (second to Tor)! And doing a bit more inspection, it appears that there is an interesting difference between Microsoft's report and NSS Lab's report. If you look closely between the two, you will notice that Microsoft switched around Firefox and Safari. Now, you may be thinking, "Why does 0.1% of blockage matter?" Well, it's the fact that the "official" report and Microsoft's report differ from each other. Here is what Microsoft said:

"Help protect your PC:

Industry–leading SmartScreen Filter helps protect your PC from malware and other mischief makers. Internet Explorer blocks 99.9% of socially engineered malware—that's more than Chrome, Safari, and Firefox. Here's the proof. Shows diagram

Help protect your privacy:

You care about your browsing history. That's why Internet Explorer built in a Do Not Track feature, has an InPrivate Browsing option, and Tracking Protection that you personalize."

Pretty much all of the other browsers mentioned have the same features that were boldfaced. Also, IE itself doesn't have a security scan, even if you see the "Running security scan" banner at the download banner. What it appears IE is looking for AV (Windows Defender) to scan for it. An experiment with my own trojan (easy to detect), and downloaded the trojan twice: once with AV on, once with AV off. (Windows Defender for Windows 8.1 was used in this experiment.)

The results follow:

AV on: Internet Explorer blocked the trojan
AV off: Trojan successfully downloaded

It seems that Internet Explorer does not scan files for viruses on its own...

It is uncertain that we really needed a test to prove that 99.9% of blocked malware is quite a stretch, considering that Internet Explorer is potentially exposed. That brings up another point: Microsoft's results may only show the amount of malware blocked, not the amount of exploits.


Internet Explorer has a reputation of not being particularly fast. As an example, sitting in front of a Windows XP computer waiting for to load. And by looking at the graph, it's readily observable that, in a firm print, the tests were for JavaScript only, not grabbing HTML.

The browsers used in the test may have been also outdated, with newer versions available at the time.

Microsoft is being vague with this, so I'm just trying to make sense of what I can. If I'm wrong about anything, please correct me.

C|H of C3

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8 Responses

Wow,that's so cool.

I read a few weeks ago about a hackathon where the winner was able to hack firefox the most times out of the three top browsers (firefox, chrome, and ie) I think that may be attributable to either the open nature of firefox or perhaps the hacker's familiarity with the browser. But I would argue the latter because most hackers are interested in getting into things not intended to be gotten into. In this regard I would think chrome would be the pinnacle of intrusion efforts due to it's questionable connections with NSA surveillance.

Yeah, Microsoft needs to specify the malware used.

I saw these charts when they were talking about Edge...and IE is just bad. Hopefully Edge will be a better browser.

I disagree with your assumption that FIREFOX is secure. I have malware software that dumps anywhere from 50-150 viruses, cookies, malware etc etc from my FOXFIRE account. If I could figure out why IE blocks YAHOO access I'd go back to IE. FIREFOX is a joke, loaded with tons of malware and I have to move my curser around to load anything. I can't even listen to videos without moving curser. all videos buffer twice as bad as IE did. You cannot contact FOXFIRE either, they just give you a runaround. IE isn't any better though in that light. I don't think to highly of Microsoft's graph eith, though., every day

Cliff, are you sure firefox is the issue and it isn't your computer which is infected?

IE11 has always been faster than Chrome for me. In fact, Chrome has been the slowest browser for a few years now, for me anyway. I'll give you security but I dispute speed.

Chrome is mostly slowed down by the amount of extensions. Internet Explorer is just generally slow. It really depends on the situation, but Chrome tends to be faster at loading more complex sites (more Java, JavaScript, Flash, etc.).

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