The SmartScreen® team just informed me that we’ve reached an amazing milestone – Internet Explorer 8 has blocked 1 billion attempts to download malware!

Socially engineering attacks like malware are a growing threat on the internet and are one of the most common risks to people’s safety online. We introduced malware protection in Internet Explorer 8 as part of the SmartScreen® Filter and have talked about it on the Windows Experience Blog a couple of times over the last year.

Here are a couple of quick facts about Internet Explorer and malware as we hit this 1 billion blocks milestone:

  • NSS Labs have recognized the Internet Explorer 8 SmartScreen® Filter as a leader in protection against Socially Engineered Malware in their August 2009 and March 2010 reports which compared Internet Explorer 8 to Chrome, Firefox and others.
  • Our malware block rates continue to improve because we continue to improve the SmartScreen service back-end. For example, in August 2009 we had blocked about 70 million attempts to download malware or about 18 million blocks per month. At the time, according to Net Applications, about 15% of the internet population used Internet Explorer 8. In the last two months, we’ve blocked 100 million attempts to download malware. Last month, according to Net Applications, nearly 26% of the internet population uses Internet Explorer 8. There are 1.7 times more users on Internet Explorer 8 than August 2009 but we’re blocking 5 times more malware month on month.
1 billion malware blocks is an amazing milestone and an example of two things. First socially engineered attacks like malware continue to be a real threat for users on the web. Second, to help keep you safe online your browser needs to continually enhance and improve its service. We have got better and better at blocking malware through the SmartScreen® Filter because we have continued to invest in our back end service since we released IE8 in March 2009. It’s this investment that has kept us at the top of the socially engineering malware charts according to NSS Labs and has helped our customers stay safe online.

If you haven’t already upgraded to Internet Explorer 8, now would be a great time to do so at . If you’ve already upgraded, you can check that SmartScreen® Filter is enabled by going to the Safety Menu and clicking on SmartScreen® Filter. If the menu gives you the option to “Turn Off SmartScreen® Filter”, the SmartScreen® Filter is switched on.


James Pratt, Senior Product Manager

Internet Explorer Business and Marketing Team