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IE8 Bests Firefox 3.07, Safari 3, Chrome 1.0.154, Opera 9.64 and IE7
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Internet Explorer 8, the Release Candidate of IE8 to be exact, produced the highest score in a comparison performed by NSS Labs, which threw it against IE7, Google Chrome 1.0.154, Apple Safari 3, Mozilla Firefox 3.07 and Opera 9.64. The tests were designed to reveal which browser offered the highest level of protection against socially engineered malware. IE8 RC1 managed to score a 69% effectiveness, by far the highest compared to all rival browsers, including many of the products that both competitors and end users consider to be more secure by default compared to Internet Explorer. The security outfit harvested 54,702 unique results for no less than 141 discrete tests that lasted in total some 282 hours. For the tests, NSS Labs used in excess of 60,000 URLs.

“It became obvious as the results were tallied that Microsoft has made considerable achievements in adding protection from socially engineered malware into Internet Explorer v8 (SmartScreen). With a protection rating of 69%, Microsoft IE8 was by far the best at protecting against socially engineered malware and adds an excellent layer of protection on top of other endpoint protection solutions. We were impressed by the stability of IE8 (RC1). And although the browser did crash a few times during the test, it recovered gracefully with no long-term ramifications,” NSS Labs explained.

SmartScreen is the evolution of the anti-phishing features introduced in Internet Explorer 7. And speaking of IE7, Microsoft managed not only to top the list, but also to grab the last place with IE8's precursor. Internet Explorer 7 accounted for the absolute lowest rate with an effectiveness of just 4%, a percentage at which end users are best off trusting their blind instincts than the browser. IE6 was not included in the comparison, but if it had been, Microsoft would have had two browsers finishing in the last places. This just in case users need a reason to upgrade as soon as possible to Internet Explorer 8 RTW launched last week. Opera barely fared better than IE7 with 5% effectiveness.

“Coming in second, Mozilla Firefox achieved just over 30% protection rating against malware – less than half the protection offered by IE8. Apple Safari crashed repeatedly until we slowed down the test to accommodate a 10-15 second pause between URL lookups. Then Safari’s stability improved (no more crashes) and its block rate tallied up to 24%. Google Chrome started out with comparable protection ratings to Firefox and Safari, yet then, inexplicably deteriorated rapidly – bringing down the average catch rate to 16%,” NSS Labs added.

Internet Explorer 8 (IE8) RTW is available for download here.

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Firefox 3.1 Beta 3 for Windows is available here.

3.1 Beta 3
3.0.7
2.0.0.20
1.5.0.12

Firefox 3.1 Beta 3 for Linux is available here.

tar.bz2 (3.0.7 Stable) - Binary
tar.bz2 (3.0.7 Stable) - Source
tar.bz2 (3.1 Beta 3 Development) - Binary
tar.bz2 (3.1 Beta 3 Development) - Source

Firefox 3.1 Beta 3 for Mac OS X is available here.

3.1 Beta 3
3.0.7
2.0.0.20

The latest development milestone of Google Chrome is available for download here.

Opera 9.64 and 10.0 Build 1345 Alpha are available for download here.

Beta
Opera 9.64

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