New information from Microsoft about anti-malware efforts on its Internet Explorer (IE) browsers cast some light on the rise of malware downloads. For one thing, they're increasingly common. Of all the things people download on a daily basis, 1 in 14 is a piece of malware. The company says the bad guys are getting increasingly sneaky about getting you to load it up too.

IE8 added another layer of protection, also based on URLs (or Web addresses), to protect users from sites that offered malicious downloads and used social engineering techniques ("Run this to watch movies for free, download this security software to clean your machine, or get great emoticons!") to get users to download and run them. URL-based protection from socially engineered malware attacks is an important layer of defense for consumers today on the Web.

IE9 adds in a new layer called SmartScreen to check information on a potential download and warn you if it thinks it looks fishy (or phishy). Microsoft says 5% of people download the files anyway. That's actually a lower knucklehead number than I was expecting.

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