“When he woke up, the dinosaur was still there,” wrote Augusto Monterroso in The Dinosaur, believed to be the shortest story in the history of literature.
Perhaps that thought ran through the head of someone on the Microsoft security team when he awoke recently to find that good old Internet Explorer is still there but now suffers from a critical security vulnerability.
You might ask: who is still using Internet Explorer these days? Well, according to statscounter.com, about 4.5% of the desktop browser market share is still attributed to Internet Explorer. According to our Web Isolation cloud platform statistics, IE takes an even bigger share, accounting for 10-20% of web browsing sessions. So while modern web services like YouTube, Spotify and Slack have stopped supporting IE11, and one Australian retailer even set a special “IE tax”, this old dinosaur is still alive and kicking.
The current version of this browser, Microsoft IE11, was first introduced with Windows 8.1 and Windows 7 back in October of 2013, and is the last planned version of Internet Explorer. Microsoft has already moved on to Microsoft Edge, making it the default browser in Windows 10. The end-of-support for IE 11 is tracked by a countdown on the domain Death-to-IE11.com, but that’s not happening for over 5 years and 8 months.
What Can You Do:
Meanwhile, enterprise network defenders may justifiably be wondering what they should do about persistent use of legacy browser software.
One solution is to deploy Symantec Web Isolation.
Some customers deploy Web Isolation into their entire web traffic. Some others deploy it only for riskier websites, identified using Symantec Global Intelligence Network. Heck, you can even deploy it for any web session originating from Internet Explorer.
Symantec Web Isolation works with Symantec’s industry leading Secure Web Gateway solutions, including ProxySG and Web Security Service (WSS), and passes the risky and uncategorized websites to Web Isolation to prevent over-blocking, while protecting the end-user. Web Isolation can also integrate with non-Symantec web gateways.
And what about our friend the intrepid security engineer tasked with patching a moribund browser? I imagine when asked if he had read Monterroso’s short story about the dinosaur, he replied: “I am still in the middle of it. I had a really rough week.”
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