Lee Mathews
Nov 5, 2016

According to the independent security researchers at NSS Labs, Microsoft Edge is the best browser available when it comes to protecting Windows 10 users from phishing attempts and social engineering attacks. Or at least it’s better than the two most popular non-Microsoft browsers, Chrome and Firefox.

NSS tested the current builds of all three browsers that went live near the end of August this year. Each was subjected to the same set of more than 5,000 malware samples and nearly 1,000 phishing URLs, and Edge came out on top in both tests. In fact, of the three browsers, Edge was the only one to score higher than 90%.

Edge blocked an impressive 99% of the socially engineered malware (or SEM) that was thrown at it, thanks to two key Microsoft technologies: SmartScreen URL Rep and App Rep, reputation-based defenses that protect against malicious links and downloads. Chrome followed at 85.8% and Firefox came third at 78.3%. Both Chrome and Firefox leverage Google’s Safe Browsing service.

When it came to phishing protection, Edge slipped slightly — down to 91.4%. Chrome was also down a few points to 82.4% and Firefox actually made up ground, climbing to 81.4%. In addition to offering the best defense against phishing, Edge was also the quickest to block new phishing sites that were encountered. At 24 minutes, Edge was nearly three times quicker than Firefox and almost four times quicker than Chrome in NSS’ testing.

These results shouldn’t necessarily discourage you from using Chrome or Firefox. This is, after all, just one test and both Mozilla and Google have a very good track record of keeping their users safe. Edge is also only available on Windows 10, so if you’re using a Mac or a PC running Linux, Edge isn’t an option anyway.

If you do own a Windows 10 computer and are curious about what Edge brings to the table, though, you can certainly feel confident that if you do decide to give it a try that you’re going to be just as safe — if not a little safer — as you are with your current browser of choice.

NSS Labs makes a couple of very good suggestions in their recommendations. First, that you keep risks to a minimum by using a browser that’s good at fending off attacks and running the most up-to-date version possible.

They also note that education is a must. While your browser might catch a lot of threats, it’s not going to catch everything. Just like driving a Tesla with Autopilot engaged, there still needs to be an attentive human at the controls to avoid danger when browsing.

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