Jeff Cutler's Keys to Security

Jul 30 2014   4:19PM GMT

IE no more secure than an unlocked car

Jeff Cutler Jeff Cutler Profile: Jeff Cutler

Internet Explorer

My MINI Cooper is parked in a garage. In the car is a pile of coins that if counted would amount to $34, probably. That’s why I locked the doors, hid the coins, parked in sight of the lot attendant and ensured that nothing else of value was in view of passersby.

Paranoid? Maybe. For $34 I probably couldn’t pay to replace the smashed window that might result had I left the car open. But I’m in favor of hanging on to my belongings. It’s that very attitude that should also make CTOs and IT professionals a little more vigilant when they are driving their metaphorical vehicles of client data and enterprise information around.

Screen Shot 2014-07-30 at 12.18.38 PM

In fact, when more news hit the other day that Internet Explorer was not very secure (non-emphasis mine), I wondered why in the world anyone’s been using this product at all. It looks, from all details that have been released – here and in publications around the globe – that an infant could breach systems as long as they’re behind the IE wall.

Here’s an article from April that talked about how governments should abandon IE immediately.

And here’s a similar piece that came out this week touting how far IE has not come. Hackers have finally decided to make IE their whipping boy by sharing all its vulnerabilities in detail according to the Guardian.

What can you do? If I were on staff at a company and in the role of some C-level executive, I’d hold my vendor’s feet to the fire. Make it work or lose my business. How tough could that be? Trouble is, the options aren’t very numerable. Changing things is costly. And the ingrained pattern of apathy and ostriching is pervasive.

To wit, when have you ever met an IT department that suggested jumping to a new vendor and reworking all the existing systems because of a security flaw? That’s right, never. IT folks just wait for the next patch and figure things will be OK.

Well, if everyone had that attitude in the ‘real’ world, cars and houses wouldn’t have locks and we’d never need passwords for our online properties. How about waking up and thinking about business success before something bad befalls your company? Wouldn’t that be the smart thing to do – even if it means getting rid of IE?

I welcome your comments. See you with another column next week. *Want to chat with me via video – let’s do an interview. Find me on Twitter or leave a comment here. Maybe a future column will be our interview.

Thanks for reading!

6  Comments on this Post

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  • ToddN2000
    I only use IE at work for one application. Entering our weekly time sheet. It will not run under other browsers, and they have no plans to open it to other browsers. Personally I use Chrome most of the time and Firefox on sites Chrome has issues with..
    135,365 pointsBadges:
  • WoodEngineer
    What makes IE so vulnerable.  Does it contain so much legacy code that MS can not secure it?
    8,225 pointsBadges:
  • WoodEngineer
    ToddN - I use Chrome at work but was having the same situation you describe where IE was required for one application.  I found a Chrome extension called "IE Tab" which emulates IE pretty well - at least well enough to invoke it for the site in question.  
    8,225 pointsBadges:
  • ToddN2000
    Thanks for the tip on the extension Wood Engineer, I'll give it a try. I think the reason IE gets so much negative publicity is it may be because it's part of Microsoft... For the hackers Microsoft has always had a target on it's back.
    135,365 pointsBadges:
  • Genderhayes
    Part of MW operating system browse the internet safer faster better protects you from spyware phishing treats boosts your download speeds up internet
    10,730 pointsBadges:
  • ToddN2000
    Another point would be IE comes pre-installed with the windows OS. How many users think I can get on the internet already, why do I need to download another browser ?  I think it may be the lack of user knowledge. I rarely use IE. Yet my in-laws use it as well as other family members due to their lack of experience and knowledge. That is also why I get calls to fix/clean their systems..I have even gone as far as downloading another browser but they still prefer IE because they are use to it. Old habits die hard...
    135,365 pointsBadges:

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