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Microsoft: One out of 14 downloads is malware

Consumer Reports News: May 18, 2011 03:46 PM

The Internet is rife with hackers and malcontents just waiting to pounce on unsuspecting Web surfers, right? But Microsoft says its Internet Explorer 9 Web browser can be your online guardian against a rising threat: malware.

Programmers for the Redmond software giant say that in developing the security tools for IE 9, they've come to the conclusion that "1 out of every 14 programs downloaded is later confirmed as malware."

Naturally, IE 9 and its built-in SmartScreen Application Reputation tool mount a good defense. The browser will supposedly determine whether a piece of Web software is bad for you by checking into the program's online credentials. A program from a well-known software maker with a pedigree of trust for software with no ill effects would get a green light to download. But warning flags would be raised should an IE 9 user try to download a new program that doesn't yet have a stellar rep.

Microsoft's dire warning of online dangers is a good reminder to all Web wanderers. Whether you're using IE9 or another browser: Just don't blindly trust that links--especially to absurdities such as alleged pictures of Osama bin Ladin's death--are really going to deliver what you expect them to.

For more tips, see Consumer Reports Guide to Online Security.

SmartScreen® Application Reputation in IE9 [Microsoft]
Microsoft: One Out of 14 Downloads Is Malware []
One-In-14 Downloads Is Malware [Wall St. Journal]

Paul Eng


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