Microsoft this week is touting the results of two recent studies from NSS showing that its Internet Explorer 9 web browser does a better job of protecting users from malware than the competition. In fact it's not even close: In the first study, IE 9 is shown to block a whopping 96 percent of live threats online, compared to just 13.2 percent for Google Chrome, 7.6 percent for Mozilla Firefox and Apple Safari, and 6.1 percent for Opera.

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"Your browser is the first line of defense against attacks on the web, and it plays a critical role along with anti-virus and other security software to help keep you safe online," Microsoft IE director Roger Capriotti wrote in a blog post discussing the results. "With Internet Explorer, SmartScreen helps protect users from socially engineered malware attacks by stopping them before they have a chance to infect your PC."

In the second study, NSS shows that IE 9 provides similar results for socially engineered malware, blocking an average of over 94 percent of such attacks. This compares to 14 percent for Chrome, 9 percent for Firefox and Safari, and 5 percent for Opera.

Capriotti also mentions that these features have only gotten more effective since last October, when NSS last tested browser security. Since then, too, the average response time for responding to electronic threats has fallen by 28 percent, or by a lofty 85 percent if you utilize IE 9's Application Reputation technologies.