I logged into our internet banking portal this week to pay some bills and transfer funds within my personal accounts, and found this ominous warning:
My first reaction was to laugh and think, “Who uses Internet Explorer at all for online banking?”
Apparently people do, and people even still use Internet Explorer 6. (IE 6) A post on Slashdot revealed that the UK uses IE 6 for governmental affairs, including many applications related to finances and security. Citizens of the UK recently circulated a petition, gathering over 6,000 signatures, to persuade the Prime Minister to upgrade web browsers in government departments and preserve sensitive information. Parliament politely refused, reasoning that the cost to upgrade would not be worth the effort.
Other businesses embrace IE 6, simply because facebook and other time-wasters are not fully functional with the outdated browser.
Google and Adobe both agree that the targeted hack on their systems in January were caused by exploiting the vulnerabilities of IE6.
I understand that there are applications and situations where using IE 6 is warranted. I even keep an ancient version of Firefox on my computer because Upromise doesn’t like Safari. But, if you need to use IE 6 for specific applications, either install another browser for daily use or run IE 6 in a VM. If you run IE 6 in a VM, you can configure your machine to roll back to your original settings (snapshot) upon reboot, thus keeping viruses and malware at bay.
Speaking of viruses and malware, make sure you are up to date on your patches – goodness knows that IE 6 isn’t!