UK government agrees to move on from Internet Explorer 6.0

As reported by Infosecurity earlier this year, Microsoft withdrew support from the old version of Internet Explorer, meaning that no more security updates for the browser client would be available.

At the time, the software giant staged a concerted campaign to get users to migrate on up to IE 8.0, the latest version of the browser client software.

Many laggard businesses have since moved, but many industry observers expressed surprise this summer when the Home Office continued to recommend the use of IE 6.0 to its many computer users.

Now, according to the TechEye IT newswire, the Home Office is recommending that staff move on to v8.0, which is not only supported by Microsoft, but has a number of extra security features.

According to Graham Cluley, a senior technology consultant with Sophos, IE 6.0 is a "creaky web browser [that] simply doesn't provide anything approaching a sufficient level of defence with severely critical vulnerabilities left unpatched."

"The British Government has been strongly criticised for its unwillingness to upgrade from the insecure Internet Explorer 6, and I was one of thousands of people who earlier this year signed a petition to the Prime Minister calling on government departments to upgrade their browsers", he said in his security blog.

The reason cited by the government at the time was that migrating to IE 8.0 would have been too expensive in terms of support, something that Clulely acknowledges, but he says that the IT teams tasked with securing sensitive data inside organisations must be given the resources to keep on top of the latest security issues – or risk suffering from potentially serious consequences.

"Let's hope that other UK government departments follow the Home Office's example and invest in a more up-to-date, more secure browser", he said.

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