68% of Statistics are Worthless

I’ve always wanted to say that.  But, if they make you think, it’s probably all worthwhile.

The title of this article caught my attention, no, grabbed my attention when I read it.

IE easily beats Chrome, Firefox, Safari in malware detection

That’s quite a statement to make.  It certainly goes against what I would have thought so I dove into the article immediately.  It cites research from NSS Labs. I’ll confess – my nerdy inner person loves stuff like this.  In the computer (or actually any classroom), it makes for fascinating discussion.  There’s just so much content available on the internet that we’ve just become used to clicking and running.  And yet, social engineering has become more sophisticated in its tactics to entice you to click that link in the first place.

The overall results are displayed in chart form.

From the results, Internet Explorer clearly stands out.  There undoubtedly are web browsers there that you may not recognize but you might want to poke around and take a look at them.

In fact, Internet Explorer stands so far out, you can’t help but want to read the rest of the report.

The report is definitely not written at a level for all grades. However, for older students, they should be able to understand the concepts and relate it to their own activities on the web and through the use of social media.  How do they know when they’ve been attacked by social malware?  Should they rely on their browser to keep them safe?  Should they install extensions like Web of Trust to beef up their protection?  Should they always click on links from email sent to them?  Does this reinforce the importance of operating system and browsers updates?  Are they comfortable with just taking the first browser that they see and heading off to the web?  In a school with shared devices, can one student affect another?

The final paragraph puts this into perspective and gives the reader the common sense call to action.  The best protection is education and knowing how to recognize the would-be attacker’s actions as they come along.

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2 thoughts on “68% of Statistics are Worthless

  1. Maybe I missed it, but neither the article nor the report seem to show a comparison of the false-positive rate of browsers. That’s fairly important – I recall struggling mightily with IE under Vista to successfully download document I had created.

    Also, IE is fairly broken as a browser in my experience. SEM is definitely a major concern, but if the browser fails to render websites correctly, I really can’t use it.

    For me, I’ll stick with Chrome and switch to Firefox if something isn’t working well. I’ll have to rely on my common sense to prevent SEM from getting a hold of my systems.

    Thanks for the article, Doug. It’ll be interesting to see how the browser vendors response to this research, and what their techniques will become over the next year.

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  2. fascinating stuff. Gave a workshop on tech and knitting this morning at local fibre fest, and the ladies in the workshop were all concerned abt the impending loss of support for XP; CBC’s Spark last week had suggested moving over to Chrome or Firefox from Explorer if you wanted to keep using XP. This makes for a hmmm.

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