Internet Explorer & China

Happy New Year and Decade!

One of the latest bit of news is how – again – issues in Internet Explorer 6 are causing grief to people all over. Recently, Google in China was hacked and it’s believed that some malware got into systems at Google running Internet Explorer 6.

First. Does anyone notice two things here? Google using Internet Explorer and not their own Chrome browser? Why use such an old version of Internet Explorer 6? [OK, maybe they need to test some compatibility but not that many should be testing.]

Microsoft has long supported the browser as if it was part of the operating system. The same goes for anything else that came with the operating system. Unfortunately IE seems to be the most vulnerable application that came with Windows. [You don’t see a security bulletin on Notepad or Paint. Do you? πŸ™‚ ]

So you have Windows 2000 on it’s death bed – expected to cease to be supported by mid-2010. Yet it came with IE5 and later you could install IE6. Both browsers are a security risk.

So you have Windows XP [and shortly after Windows Server 2003]. Came with IE6 but you can install IE7 and IE8. With support expected to die for Windows XP in 2014 and Windows Server 2003 in 2015, you could possibly see an IE9 released for them [although Microsoft generally does not come out with new applications for operating systems that are in extended support]. But extended support was pushed back and now starts in 2011. So it looks like IE9 for Windows XP and Server 2003 are possible now. So at one point, Microsoft could be supporting 4 browser versions.

Windows Vista [and Server 2008] came with IE7 built in and you can install IE8. At least Windows 7 comes with IE8 built in.

Most suggest even IE7 users to jump to IE8.

My suggestion is to limit the life of a web browser to 5 years – regardless of the operating system support.

After 5 years, support should be dropped. To be a bit draconian, maybe someone running an unsupported browser to have their browser cannibalized some how so that it can’t connect to the Internet. An alternative would be to force install the latest browser at 5 years and 1 day.

Many systems still running IE6 in Windows XP are probably being used by home novices – most who know or could care too much about computer security. You think these are the ones that have highly infested computers?

A little tip. If you install a Windows service pack after an updated web browser, you won’t have the option to remove the web browser anymore.

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About ebraiter
computer guy

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