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Anti-Phishing Protection of popular Web Browsers – December 2012

Date December 2012
Language English
Last Revision January 6th 2013

Release date 2013-01-06
Revision date 2013-01-06
Test Period December 2012
Number of Testcases 294
Online with cloud connectivity checkbox-checked
Update allowed checkbox-checked
False Alarm Test included checkbox-checked
Platform/OS Microsoft Windows
Methodology Click here


What is Phishing?

“Phishing is a way of attempting to acquire sensitive information such as usernames, passwords and credit card details by masquerading as a trustworthy entity in an electronic communication. This is similar to Fishing, where the fisherman puts a bait at the hook, thus, pretending to be a genuine food for fish. But the hook inside it takes the complete fish out of the lake. Communications purporting to be from popular social web sites, auction sites, online payment processors or IT administrators are commonly used to lure the unsuspecting public. Phishing is typically carried out by e-mail spoofing or instant messaging and it often directs users to enter details at a fake website whose look and feel are almost identical to the legitimate one. Phishing is an example of social engineering techniques used to deceive users, and exploits the poor usability of current web security technologies.” 

For more information about how not to get hooked by a phishing scam, please have a look at e.g. the Consumer Alert of the FTC:

Tested Products

The following up-to-date popular web browsers were evaluated in this Anti-Phishing test:

  • Apple Safari
  • Google Chrome 23.0.1271.97 m
  • Microsoft Internet Explorer 9.0.9112.16421 / 9.0.12
  • Mozilla Firefox 17.0.1
  • Opera 12.11.1661

Test Procedure

In this test, we simulate a user that relies only on the Anti-Phishing protection provided by its web browser while browsing the web. The aim of this test was only to evaluate the Anti-Phishing protection provided by Web browsers in the tested time period. The test was done on real machines, using Windows 7 SP1 64-Bit. All browsers were tested with default settings and in parallel at the same time on the same URLs. In July 2012, we did a similar test to evaluate the Anti-Phishing protection provided by Internet Security products.

The test reports can be found here.


Phishing URLs were taken from phishing mails received in the pre-Christmas time and immediately tested from the 11th to 19th December 2012. All used phishing URLs were active/online and attempted to get personal information. In total, 294 different phishing URLs were used for this test.

Test Results

Below you see the percentages of blocked phishing websites (size of test set: 294 phishing URLs) by the various web browsers:

1. Opera 94.2% 
2.  Internet Explorer  82.0% 
3.  Google Chrome  72.4% 
4.  Apple Safari  65.6% 
5.  Mozilla Firefox  54.8% 

False Positive (False Alarm) Test Result

For the Anti-Phishing False Alarm Test we selected 100 different popular banking sites (all of them using HTTPS and showing a login form) from all over the world and checked if any of the various browsers blocked those legitimate online banking sites. Wrongly blocking such sites is a serious mistake. From the tested browsers, none showed a false alarm.

Copyright and Disclaimer

This publication is Copyright © 2013 by AV-Comparatives ®. Any use of the results, etc. in whole or in part, is ONLY permitted after the explicit written agreement of the management board of AV-Comparatives prior to any publication. AV-Comparatives and its testers cannot be held liable for any damage or loss, which might occur as result of, or in connection with, the use of the information provided in this paper. We take every possible care to ensure the correctness of the basic data, but a liability for the correctness of the test results cannot be taken by any representative of AV-Comparatives. We do not give any guarantee of the correctness, completeness, or suitability for a specific purpose of any of the information/content provided at any given time. No one else involved in creating, producing or delivering test results shall be liable for any indirect, special or consequential damage, or loss of profits, arising out of, or related to, the use or inability to use, the services provided by the website, test documents or any related data.

For more information about AV-Comparatives and the testing methodologies, please visit our website.

(January 2013)