Rest in Peace Internet Explorer 8, 9 and 10
Posted by Sharyn Tauro | 20 Jan
The Microsoft bells have tolled and the guillotine has finally come down on the famous, yet often libeled IE 8, 9 and 10. This phasing out has been in anticipation since Microsoft’s announcement back in August 2014 warning users of the impending changes and urging them to update to the latest version, namely the Internet Explorer 11. From January 12th 2016 Microsoft announced: “none of the older versions of the Internet Explorer will henceforth receive any security updates, compatibility fixes or technical support, except the latest, the Internet Explorer 11.”
According to a survey carried out by NetMarketShare nearly 57% of the Internet browser market is capitalized by Microsoft’s IE of which nearly 23% users still use an outdated version of the IE.  This roughly translates to nearly 340 million people worldwide. 
Ramifications for users?
Program updates usually involve patches and bug fixes that are pieces of software designed to update a computer program, fixing its vulnerability and increasing its performance. Absence of such support exposes user computers to new vulnerabilities that can be exploited by cyber-criminals. Cyber-attacks target these unprotected computers with malicious programs or malware exposing user personal, financial and business information. What this could mean to a company in terms of financial costs, besides tarnishing their reputation, is amply evidenced by the much publicized cyber-attacks on large scale companies in the United States such as Sony and Target. During Thanksgiving 2013, sales day, 1797 Target stores across the US were hacked resulting in large scale breach of customer credit information. Nearly 40 million customers had their credit and debit card data exposed resulting in rampant card fraud. A Class Action law suit saw Target forking out nearly $10 million to customers affected by the breach.
The way forward: The Internet Explorer 11 vs Edge debate
Internet Explorer 11 is the most current, but last version of Microsoft’s Internet Explorer range while Edge is the new default browser on Windows 10 replacing IE. Since the preview of Microsoft Edge on August 12th 2015, a debate has sparked among technophiles, ‘Which is better IE11 or Edge?’
- User Interface and Additional features: Though no radical changes have been made to the layout or logo, compared to IE11, Edge has been designed with a view to minimalism with fewer navigation buttons making for a sleeker and impressive user experience. Edge also gives users the option of annotating a web page, with the annotations being saved either locally or to the cloud with Edge alerting the user to the annotations during the next visit. Edge boasts of Cortana, a virtual personal assistant that can perform a wide variety of tasks from help with tracking files on the PC, managing a personal calendar to even chatting and telling a user jokes.
- Backward compatibility and Legacy Support: IE11, but not Edge, is supported by Windows 7, 8.1 and Windows 10, though Microsoft Edge lets a user continue to use IE11 for sites especially those on a corporate intranet that need backward compatibility. Edge also does not support Microsoft’s ActiveX and VBScript though it supports Adobe Flash and Personal Document Format (PDF)
- Security: Microsoft have upped the ante when providing security features for Edge, trying to move away from all the security problems that have dogged them with the IE range. They have implemented ‘Sandboxing’ for executing programs in a secure virtual space within the browser. Sandboxing prevents an attacker from gaining access to the whole system and affecting other programs running on the computer. Microsoft have also embedded various anti-fraud and anti-phishing technologies and have blocked all third party plugins and extensions.
Overall Microsoft Edge seems to be worth the upgrade but we would like to hear from other users of Edge. So please leave us your thoughts and feedback on our articles in the comments section below and watch this space for our weekly releases.