Recent publicity over browser vulnerabilities re-enforces the view that it is vital for your system security that you maintain the software levels (especially critical updates) of your chosen browser.
Microsoft Internet Explorer 6 (IE6) is still widely used in the enterprise, which given the focus information security now has in many organisations, I find surprising. Released in 2001, IE6 has been dogged with issues of security and incomplete support for web standards such as CSS and XHTML, which hinders application development.
Both IE7 and the latest version, IE8, offer huge performance benefits, improved support for web standards and hardened security – something which Microsoft continues enhance for these later versions.
Microsoft has issued advisory notices, telling users to upgrade to IE8 to secure against the vulnerability that allowed hackers to infiltrate and steal source code from some of the world’s biggest technology companies. The French and German government’s recommendation that users move to another browser has certainly added to the weight to the discontinued use of IE6.
There is a wider debate about whether or not users running IE6 should migrate to Google Chrome, Firefox, Safari or Opera as these browsers are deemed to be more secure and implement common web standards in full, which makes application development and support far easier. However, to say IE7 or IE8 are not good browsers would be unfair. IE7 is a massive improvement on IE6 and IE8 builds on improvements further.
If you are using IE6, then sooner or later you will be forced to upgrade as new web sites and applications simply will not function as new web standards are adopted.
The reasons for not upgrading are usually down to internal costs or that existing deployed applications only work with IE6 and whilst I can sympathise with both of these reasons I believe securing your enterprise and reputation is far more important; therefore, my advice is simple, upgrade now!