Wednesday, December 17th, 2008

Finally something to get a few more users off of IE 6?

Category: Browsers, IE

<p>We desperately want users to upgrade to the latest and greatest. A prominent and respected Web citizen recently said “With Ajax we are developing to 1997 technology, and are restricted by IE 6.” What if you didn’t have that nagging feeling, and instead could use the platform that sits below the clients of modern browsers? You could do a hell of a lot more.

Well, maybe we get a small bone in the zero day exploit for IE that is doing the rounds right now.

Some are arguing over how easy or hard it is to get safe (run some regedit really OK?) but scary it is. Other folks can’t gloat though, as who know what the hackers will find next. But, for now, we may get a few switchers. Maybe the IT guys who made the call to write ActiveX components back in the day will finally get a kick up the backside and move over? The end users? Hmm, I wonder how many are paying any attention versus clicking on the big “Internet” button and doing their thing.

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Posted by Dion Almaer at 1:28 am
14 Comments

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3.5 rating from 25 votes

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Since when did a security fail is an argument for software migration ?
Every browser got some, IE or not.
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My Firefox just updated this morning :
http://www.mozilla.org/security/known-vulnerabilities/firefox20.html#firefox2.0.0.19
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Rejoicing on a security bulletin is childish.

Comment by ywg — December 17, 2008

I don’t think that was the intention ywg. Dion’s simply drawing attention to another potential chip-away at IE6′s market share. I do wonder however, how many IE6 users will even know or care about the latest exploit. I have a feeling that the majority of IE6 holder-onners are the kind of people who “click the blue e” to “go onto the msn internetz” ;-)

I think we’re likely to see more natural wastage over the coming year or two owing to dusty 5 year old XP Home machines going pop and being replaced by shiny new underpowered Vista boxes

Comment by jamiethompson — December 17, 2008

It was even on the new today :D

They suggested we stop using internet explorer for a while. I COMPLETELY AGREE.

I hope this finally help IE6 users see the light. But I doubt it :(

Comment by V1 — December 17, 2008

@jamiethompson : you’re right, I overreacted (my apologies Dion).
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However, I still believe this is a bad argument : every piece of software got security issue. What is significant here is : do they get fixed ? And IE6 is still maintained.

Comment by ywg — December 17, 2008

The interesting thing here is not that IE has a security flaw (*yawn*), but rather that it affects all versions of IE. Historically, the response to security issues has been, “upgrade to the latest version of IE”, but this flaw affects all versions so that’s not an option. That’s why security experts, and by extension much of the media, are recommending switching to other browsers, at least until MSFT issues a patch. Basically, it’s free PR for FF, Safari, Opera.

Comment by broofa — December 17, 2008

Geez the hackers are sure pounding on Microsoft this week. There’s also at least 5 newly reported Microsoft related holes on net-security.org. Must be the holiday season :)

Comment by LeoHorie — December 17, 2008

We could make use of this hole to effectively force IE upgrades onto people to EOL IE6, for the greater good. Too bad that’s never going to happen unless competition gangs up on Microsoft to take this on. Seems like we are stuck with IE6 for a few more years. Let’s hope Microsoft does the right thing and pushes an IE7 upgrade while they are at it. IE6 or IE free would’ve been a nice way to start off 2009.

Comment by Jadet — December 17, 2008

>>Let’s hope Microsoft does the right thing and pushes an IE7 upgrade while they are at it.
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They can’t. It would break enterprise apps written to IE6. They’ve already told people to update over and over, but pushing that update automatically would be devastating.
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My brother works for a legal firm that would grind to a halt if they did that. Yes, they are finally rewriting their stuff to web standards, but who knows how long that will take them?

Comment by Nosredna — December 17, 2008

This is interesting but I doubt that it will cause a significant number of people to upgrade to IE7. There will probably be a patch released for all versions of IE. The people still using IE6 are people who don’t have a choice to upgrade because of specific apps they’re using (as the above comment mentions) and the people who are too computer-dumb to understand… and I doubt those people will be aware of this security issue.

Comment by mjuhl — December 17, 2008

This appeared on the BBC news homepage a few days back, that sort of exposure is quite immense!

Comment by oopstudios — December 17, 2008

broofa points out the real issue here, which is that this is a potential risk to all IE versions, including 8; Upgrading to another IE version is clearly not a solution to this problem. I agree (despite media exposure) that only a very small % of users will ever know about this, and only a relatively small subset of those care enough to take any action. It’s not like IE has a monopoly on browser bugs either, as it’s something that ails anyone providing software that will run in a networked environment. The perception might be for some that non-IE brands may be safer overall, in which case those users may move to something else, although I’d argue that many don’t even know that other browsers even exist at all. I wouldn’t be surprised at all if the majority of internet users knew nothing of any browsers other than what comes with their OS.

I think the keys to user migration away from IE6 at this point are making efforts to not let IE6 limitations direct our functionality/design decisions, allowing users of higher end browsers to enjoy a more enjoyable and engaging experience, and educating users of lesser browsers on 1) the availability of their browser options (and make it easy for them to learn about, compare, and install an alternative) and 2) what they’re missing by not upgrading.

Comment by scottloway — December 17, 2008

@Nosredna: the interesting point there is that companies see that microsoft is giving them time to gently transition, so they’re doing the job right and rewriting these apps to be cross-browser and more capable. On the one hand IE6 lives on and on and on, but on the other hand lots of web apps are being rewritten to be better.

Comment by Joeri — December 17, 2008

Somebody should use the security flaw to upgrade unsuspecting victims to the latest version of IE. I expect most people would not bother trying to downgrade their browsers.

Comment by OrionJ — December 18, 2008

It should be noted that any AOL users are also IE6 users. The latest version of the AOL browser is still built on top of IE6.

Comment by akdetrick — December 19, 2008

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