Everybody knows Internet Explorer is famous for being supposedly the slowest browser in the world. Microsoft (NASDAQ: MSFT) seems to have finally picked up on the signs and will be ending their support for the IE 8, 9 and 10.
The Internet Explorer 11, which is the current and latest version, will still be supported. This means that IE will not be completely eradicated, but at least the outdated ones will be laid to rest.
Anyone who still uses the older versions, if there still are, will receive an “End of Life” notification which contains all the details they need to know plus a recommendation to update to IE11. The safest and most probably sane option is to at least upgrade to the new Microsoft Edge browser on Windows 10.
If these users are still persistent for whatever reason, they can still use the older versions. However, they will be open to a potential hacking, breaches and exploits as there would be no more security updates from Microsoft.
As Internet and web design standards shift, the older versions of IE will be left behind. Those who still use them may find it hard to browse smoothly in the foreseeable future.
The Internet Explorer in History
Internet Explorer’s legacy was initially good to begin with. In 2008, IE was the most used browser in the world. W3Schools’ statistics state that about 46 percent of users globally used IE as their browser (mostly in China).
In 2002, that figure was even bigger at 85 percent. However, the figures quickly declined to single-digit percentages as newer and better browsers emerged.
At the end of last year, the figure stooped down to just 6.8 percent. Internet users chose Google Chrome and Mozilla Firefox as their browsers even in mobile devices.
What made Microsoft pull the plug on IE 8, 9 and 10? Besides the fact that they are all outdated, the Redmond-based tech giant could be focusing more on the IE 11 and Microsoft Edge browser.
Both of the new browsers, while not exactly at the top, have been received well by the public. Microsoft Edge was introduced when Windows 10 came out.
There will be better security updates and patches for IE 11 and Edge. Hopefully, this would encourage the users of the old versions to upgrade.
Some Enterprises Still Use Older IE Versions
Average Internet users are not the ones likely to be using the outdated versions. Some companies and businesses still use them for accessing systems that have been designed specifically for the browsers. There could be some older users who prefer the simplicity of just using what’s included in their computer.
Enterprises and such have the most to lose if they do not switch or upgrade to the latest versions or other browsers. The year 2015 and 2014 have seen a significant increase in cyber attacks and data breaches as hackers continue to find exploits on all possible software.
Increased Hacking Instances and Cyber Security Risks
One of the most famous hacks in 2014 was the so-called The Fappening. Several Hollywood stars and popular personalities have been victims of hackers who leaked their private and mostly nude photos to the public. It was mainly blamed on the iCloud storage service, but Apple (NASDAQ: AAPL) firmly stated that there were no problems on their end.
Even Sony (NASDAQ: SNE) was not safe from the hackers. Hackers going by the name of GOP have penetrated the Sony Pictures’ computer systems and managed to steal and leak several sensitive emails of Sony executives.
On a more recent note last year, computer espionage tool developer and seller Hacking Team have been ironically hacked as well. About 400GB of their internal data were leaked to the Internet. The data included some lists of their clients and several exploits that were discovered and being used by their customers.
Hackers and the Adobe Flash Player
Another risk in using the older versions of the Internet Explorer is the vulnerabilities and exploits in the Adobe Flash player. Mozilla already blocked the player on their Firefox browser to prevent any more vulnerabilities from pushing through.
Chrome by Google (NASDAQ: GOOG) have also turned on the Flash block setting by default last year. However, the search engine giant did not specifically state that the reason for it is to make browsing safer. The main aim was to shorten the load times and power usage as the Flash player can drain resources.
Even Facebook (NASDAQ: FB) dropped Adobe Flash for their videos both on their mobile and web versions. Videos will now be played using HTML 5, something that IE 8 does not fully support.
While Flash can be stopped at the older versions of Internet Explorer, the older versions of the browser can still bring havoc to security. After the end of the support, hackers can find exploits and use them.
Outdated Internet Explorer Vulnerable to Attacks
Once hackers find one or several exploits, there would be no chance to patch them up as Microsoft is already done with them. Companies that still use them despite the warnings could experience financial loss due to the hackers siphoning sensitive data and banking details from clients and their employees as well.
If Windows Updates is turned on in a computer, the browser will automatically update. If it is not, it can still be downloaded manually on Microsoft’s website or through the notification that will show up. Better yet, user should just download other, more reliable browsers out there.
Out of Nowhere, Windows 8 Is Out Of Support
Windows 7 was supposed to be.. supported… until 2020, Windows 8 until 2023?
Microsoft is also ending their support for Windows 8. The latest security update on January 12 was the last. Those who are using Windows 8.1 will still receive the security updates. The Redmond-based company has already released the 8.1 as a service pack to Windows 8 and not just a minor update.
Windows 8 was not really received that well when it launched. It focused on computers and laptops with touch screens, which are still not as big today except for tablets.
In 2013, Windows 8 users were required to update to Windows 8.1 as it was made into a mandatory upgrade. There were about 200 million copies of the operating system sold in 2014.
Security patches and updates are crucial to protecting one’s computer. Hackers continue to search and develop exploits that can be used to their advantage.
Upgrading to Internet Explorer 11, Microsoft Edge and Windows 8.1 will be less of a hassle compared to a completely unusable computer due to viruses.