Make your browsing 14x safer for the holidays!


The browser is how most people access the Internet, and with the proliferation of malware online today, it is one of the first lines of defense in helping to protect systems.

Each new browser version can offer new capabilities, protections, and fixes for vulnerabilities. This means that a newer browser is often safer than its predecessor. It turns out, Microsoft Malware Protection Center’s data analysis reinforces this theory.

Computer security professionals often remind people to regularly update their software, and Microsoft makes it easy to update our products, including Internet Explorer through Microsoft Update.  Similarly, other top browsers like Google Chrome and Mozilla Firefox try to keep people updated with the latest versions. However, as past Security Intelligence Reports have shown, many systems today are not taking advantage of the latest protections by upgrading their browsers and other applications to the most recent versions.

While we’re told to update, actual measurements of the risk have been scarce. A risk ratio analysis of the default browser on machines protected by Microsoft Security Essentials and Windows Defender, helps to show how different versions of browsers perform in the real world.

For the month of November, we compared the risk of running different browser versions set as the default browser in Windows.  In total, there were 219 different browser filenames. 34 of those were on over 10,000 different computers.  But the most important data showed just how much less risk there was on more recent versions of the most popular browsers.

Browser encounter risk table

We built Internet Explorer 11 to be our safest browser ever, and it includes the most advanced protections to date. This chart show how effective it has been in helping to protect systems. If you’re still running Internet Explorer 6, upgrading to Internet Explorer 11 gives 14x less risk of an active malware encounter, as you can see in the chart above.

The risk ratios that compare the active malware encounter probability for each browser to the rest of the population.  The average risk for all users is a 100% risk ratio, so lower than 100% is safer, over 100% means it’s more likely that active malware will be encountered.

And best of all, upgrading your browser costs nothing. This data reinforces the importance of running an up-to-date browser.  With the increase internet usage over the holidays, I strongly encourage people to upgrade to the latest browser to help protect against malware.

Joe Faulhaber
MMPC


Comments (7)

  1. Robert Scroggins says:

    Did you factor the number of browsers of each type in your risk profile(s)? Perhaps the most recent versions have a lower risk profile because there are not as many users as there are the older versions. Also, IE 7 seems to go against the pattern a bit
    also, doesn't it? Regards,

  2. Vince says:

    So according to this list, while it is NOT sorted this way, is that IE 7 is 3rd most secure browser in Microsoft's IE line. So if you cant run IE 11 or 10, run 7! LOL. It's funny how they cleverly rearranged that list. It's NOT according to risk ratio!

  3. adwbust says:

    Thanks for the report. MS should change its policy regarding browser updates. You can't get IE 11 on Vista. Mozilla and Google offer their latest and secure browsers across all windows platforms. Offer IE 11 to Vista since it's not EOL yet.

  4. Will Shatter says:

    Hmm. Unfortunately, our org is still using Windows 7 and when we attempted to upgrade to IE 11, nothing but "IE has encountered a problem and must restart." Downgrading to a functioning IE was a nightmare. Is publishing these blog entries part of your
    review? What reality are you living in?

  5. Dear Me says:

    We built Internet Explorer 11 to be our safest browser ever, and it includes the most advanced protections to date. This chart show how effective it has been in helping to protect systems. If you’re still running Internet Explorer 6, upgrading to Internet
    Explorer 11 gives 14x less risk of an active malware encounter, as you can see in the chart above.

    This is just plain poppycock – if you're running IE6 then IE11 won't be supported on that system… oh yes to Microsoft an IE update often means buying a new operating system. No wonder IE is losing market share all the time.

  6. Bryan says:

    " If you’re still running Internet Explorer 6, upgrading to Internet Explorer 11…". That sounds great except for the fact that it cannot be done. There is not a single OS that is compatible with both IE6 and 11. If you're on XP, you can upgrade to 8
    but according to this data you're safer being on 7 than 8. In general I agree it's better to be on a newer browser, but you'll need to upgrade your OS too. Of course if you're running Chrome or Firefox then you don't have to upgrade your OS just to get a newer
    application. I hope Microsoft can learn from this concept.

  7. adwbust says:

    will, windows 7 does support ie 11. go to microsoft answers to get help why it wont install on your system or contact microsoft support.

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