HP Threat Research Blog Internet Explorer is Dead, Long Live Internet Explorer?

Internet Explorer is Dead, Long Live Internet Explorer?

February 26, 2018 Category: Uncategorized By: Dan Allen Comments: 0

Internet Explorer is Dead, Long Live Internet Explorer?

  • Most enterprises still need Internet Explorer for access to legacy web applications
  • While Chrome and Edge are significantly more secure than IE, they are still susceptible to malicious downloads
  • Bromium allows you to safely run Internet Explorer, while it also protects modern browsers such as Chrome and Edge

Internet Explorer (IE) was the most widely used enterprise browser for the better part of two decades. IE was king because it shipped with every Windows device, and also for website compatibility reasons. As enterprises began deploying internal web applications from the late 1990s through the late 2000s, many of these applications required Internet Explorer, Java, or Flash. These enterprise web applications simply didn’t work properly on any browser other than IE.

Thankfully, most modern web applications deployed in the past five years are HTML5 compliant, do not have any Flash or Java dependencies, and run great on Chrome, Edge, or even Firefox.

Historically, most web exploits over the last 15+ years used vulnerabilities native to IE or the ActiveX plugins in IE such as Java and Flash. Safeguarding organizations against these exploits is nearly impossible given the legacy architecture that IE and ActiveX was built upon.

Modern browsers to the rescue

IE was written using legacy architecture that’s now decades old. Modern browsers such as Chrome and Edge were written from the ground up with security in mind. This does not mean that Chrome and Edge cannot be exploited. However, Chrome and Edge exploits are rare and harder to execute compared to IE, Java, and Flash.

2018 is the year of Windows 10. By the end of 2018, Windows 10 will outnumber Windows 7 in the enterprise. This is a good thing, considering that Windows 10 is far more secure, and most users on Windows 10 now use Chrome or Edge (mostly Chrome).

Now that the more secure Chrome is the browser king and most users are running Windows 10, does that mean we can finally close the coffin lid on Internet Explorer? Unfortunately, not yet.

Legacy applications refuse to die

Remember all those legacy internal web applications that were built upon IE, Java, and Flash technologies? Well, they are still alive and well in most large enterprises. Nearly every large company I talk to still has pockets of old web applications that users need to access. So IE is