Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ:MSFT) is ending support for three of its legacy browsers today, a move that could leave many be users vulnerable to attacks. There will be no more security updates for the browsers a move that could leave tens or even hundreds of Windows users vulnerable online. The software giant has already advised users to upgrade to IE11 and Microsoft Edge but how many people have heeded the call, remains to be seen.
Tens of Millions Left Unprotected
For years, Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ:MSFT) has enjoyed a competitive advantage on providing support for older browsers. As of 2014, the company was supporting no fewer than six version of Internet Explorer. The end of the road for Windows XP saw Internet Explorer 6 and 7 fall off.
Tens of millions of people are now at risk as the defunct browsers continue to run in older operating systems. Internet Explorer 9 one of the browsers no longer supported by Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ:MSFT) still run on Windows Vista, which cannot upgrade to newer IE versions. That is also the case with Windows Server 2012, which only supports Internet Explorer 10 which will no longer receive security updates.
Microsoft is also ending support for Windows 8 which shipped with Internet Explorer 10. Users are being encouraged to upgrade to Windows 8.1 which comes with Internet Explorer 11. Even with the advice tens of millions of people are still on the unsupported Windows 8.
No Kill Switch
Unsupported version of Internet Explorer and the original Windows 8 will continue to operate as there is no kill switch. Consumers who don’t want to upgrade will continue browsing the internet with the unsupported browsers. However, that puts them at a greater risk as new vulnerabilities crop up every month as Microsoft turns the other way in issuing patches.
StatCounter reports that as many as 5% of all web pages were visited by browsers no longer supported as of the end of last year. PC’s using unsupported versions could be over 20% of the total installed base. To mitigate the risk posed by the defunct browsers, Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ:MSFT) has been offering Windows 10 for free targeting mostly Windows 7 PCs that still use the older browsers.