YourBrowserMatters.org launched today to help protect consumers from the dangers of using an out of date browser.
Zero day attack: words that strike fear into the hearts of people around the world. Yet, for all of the sensational headlines associated with zero day vulnerabilities, they actually account for only 0.1% of all malicious attacks. The real threat is much more sinister and much closer to home. According to the latest Microsoft Security Intelligence Report Volume 11, which analyzes data from over 600 million systems in more than 100 countries, the biggest threats stem from clever “socially engineered” malware targeting outdated software, such as older Web browsers.
This last point is particularly concerning because data from Net Applications shows that about a quarter of all PCs connecting to the Web are using an outdated version of their browser. This equates to about 340 million PCs worldwide. With that in mind, we’ve partnered with the Anti-Phishing League, Identity Theft Council, and Online Trust Alliance to raise awareness of the critical role browsers play in online security and make it as easy as possible for people to protect themselves. As part of this, we are pleased to announce the launch of a new web site: YourBrowserMatters.org.
YourBrowserMatters.org is a resource for anyone who wants to improve their online security and increase their protection from socially engineered malware threats like phishing attacks. These attacks are particularly nefarious because they manipulate people into taking actions, such as downloading software that may harm them or their PC by corrupting their computer with a virus, collecting confidential information, or stealing files. Attacks like these accounted for 45% of computer infections according to the Security Intelligence Report and they are exactly the types of attacks modern browsers help protect against. For example, NSS Labs, an independent security research and testing organization, recently release two reports that show the latest version of Internet Explorer, Internet Explorer 9, protects against more than 99% of socially engineered malware thanks to features like SmartScreen and Application Reputation.
YourBrowserMatters.org offers an easy way for people to assess their current browser’s security features. Scores range on a scale of 0 to 4, and they are calculated using data from the Security Intelligence Report as well as what experts such as the Anti-Phishing League, Identity Theft Council, and Online Trust Alliance believe to be the most important aspects of browser security. This means browsers that provide better protection against the most common threats – such as socially engineered malware – will receive a higher score. Security scores like this are often the subject of much scrutiny, and there is certainly no single test that can perfectly summarize all aspects of browser security. To be as transparent as possible, there is a detailed FAQ on the scoring methodology directly on the site.
Craig Spiezle from Online Trust Alliance elaborated on the value of YourBrowserMatters.org in his blog post today. Speizle also remarked:
“The mission of the Online Trust Alliance is to enhance online trust and confidence. When it comes to online security and privacy, the browser plays an important part in helping to make the internet safer for all users. Since our inception, OTA has been a proponent of improving browser security and getting people to move to more secure platforms. More must be done to help educate users on the need to move to more modern browsers and we applaud Microsoft’s leadership and collaboration in this important initiative.”
YourBrowserMatters.org also makes it easy for people to upgrade to the latest version of any of the most popular browsers, including Internet Explorer, Firefox, or Chrome. Of course, we hope they choose IE9 because among other things, it blocks more malware than any other browser out there – more than 7 times that of Chrome and over 13 times more than Mozilla Firefox or Apple Safari according to NSS Labs. But while we’re confident that when compared to any other browser IE9 excels at keeping people safer, the bottom line is we simply want people to protect themselves by knowing that a modern browser is the first line of defense online.
For more information – or to see how your browser stacks up – visit www.YourBrowserMatters.org today.
Director, Internet Explorer Product Marketing