There are different angles to evaluate the security features of web browsers, but if you are looking only at their capability to fend off malware websites, your best bet may be IE9.
NSS Labs found that IE9 detected 100 percent of the malware sites the company threw at the browser, followed by IE8 with 90 percent. The next best browsers were Safari 5, Firefox 4 and Chrome 10 with 13 percent each, followed by Opera with just 5 percent. Before you complain about the result, the foundation of the test may actually clarify the result.
NSS said it used about 650 sites as test sample, which it collected via spam emails, instant messages social networks and its own honeypots. Excluded from the test were typical browser vulnerabilities, as well as sites that integrate nasty clickjacking or drive-by downloads. All included websites required user action and, in a best case scenario, did not load in the browser window: instead, a browser should show a warning that the user is about to enter a website with malicious code.
NSS said that “Internet Explorer 9 was by far the best at protecting against socially-engineered malware, even before App Rep’s protection is layered on top of SmartScreen. The significance of Microsoft’s new application reputation technology cannot be overstated." About a year ago, NSS released results that were similarly in favor of IE8, but Chrome and Opera complained that they had no idea how NSS tested their browsers and had doubts about the accuracy of the result.
This time, NSS said that browser makers were invited to participate at no cost in the test.