Why Microsoft thinks that Edge is safer than Google Chrome and Firefox
Microsoft’s claim is based on a report by NSS Labs Company, a business that sells threat intelligence and risk mitigation guidance to the company. The report tested 304 examples of Socially Engineered Malware (SEM) and phishing page. They found that SmartScreen, a security feature in Edge, blocked 99% of the SEM samples. Chrome blocked 85.8%, and Firefox blocked 78.3%.
SmartScreen Is Just Part of the Picture
To understand what this means, you need to understand how SmartScreen work. Microsoft SmartScreen was first introduced in Internet Explorer 7 as “Phishing Filter,” and has been improved upon in each release since. Chrome and Firefox have the similar warning, but nothing quite like the bright red pages in Edge. These features check web page and application against lists of known good and bad items. So NSS Labs’ test essentially found that when it comes to malware and phishing pages, Microsoft has a better list.
But SmartScreen is only one part of a browser’s security. While tools like SmartScreen are helpful, they should hardly be your only line of defenses. You should still be using a good antivirus program in conjunction with something like Malwarebytes to protect yourself if something slips through, or if something comes from another attack vectors. Those programs often come with their own blockers, too, as shown below.
The Other Security Features That Matter
Microsoft Edge and Google Chrome have both fully implemented sandboxing technology. Sandboxes break up each component of the browser—tabs, window, and plugins, for example—into individual processes. These processes are prohibited from interacting with each other or with outside process, making it much more difficult for malicious code to spread across your computer.
Splitting a browser into several processes can also improve performances with modern multi-core processors, though it comes at the expense of higher RAM usage.
Firefox, on the other hand, launched in 2004, when the concept of sandboxing was very new. Right now, it only sandboxes media plugins, but Mozilla is working on Electrolysis, a project to make Firefox multi-process and sandbox the browser. Unlike Internet Explorer Browser, though, which was able to introduce sandboxing in version 10, Firefox had to worry about maintaining compatibility with almost 13 years of extension, which is why this transition has been so slow.
Ever wonder why your browsers updates so often? Developers are constantly patching to fix security flaws. Of course, only users who install the updates are protected. Automatic update help ensure that most people run current, protected version of the web browsers.
Google Chrome is the poster child for automatic software update. They are installed quickly and quietly when users close the web browser. Firefox introduced similar silent updates feature in 2012.