October 11, 2011 6:29 am

Are You One of the Millions at Risk from Socially Engineered Malware?

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 wanted 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 security professionals 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 noted:

“Recently Microsoft launched a campaign to educate people and get them to migrate to newer browsers through its new site http://www.YourBrowserMatters.org. This site helps to explain why having a modern browser is important. The site is broken down into two parts – one is an education component. For those who’re curious as to exactly why a browser matters, the videos and the interactive components an easy way to learn more. The second part is a security score –which detects your browser and provides a score based on Microsoft’s criteria.”

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.

Roger Capriotti
Director, Internet Explorer Product Marketing

Updated November 8, 2014 2:24 am

Join the conversation