Government rules out upgrading from Internet Explorer 6

Government to persevere with browser despite high-profile vulnerabilities and advice from France and Germany

The government has ruled out scrapping the use of Internet Explorer 6 on department computers, saying it will persevere with the bullet-riddled browser despite its high-profile vulnerabilities.

Responding to an online petition with more than 6,000 signatures urging government departments to upgrade away from IE6, the government said such a move would be "a very large operation" potentially at "significant potential cost to the taxpayer".

"It is therefore more cost-effective in many cases to continue to use IE6 and rely on other measures, such as firewalls and malware-scanning software, to further protect public sector internet users," reads the statement.

The petition, set up by Dan Frydman, director of Inigo Media, launched the day after Google announced it would be phasing out support for the Microsoft browser after the company’s corporate network was broken into by Chinese hackers using a vulnerability in IE6. The (pre-election) cabinet office signalled its intention to stick with IE6 in January this year, despite governments in both France and Germany advising people to stop using it.

Frydman responded to today’s government decision on his blog, expressing disappointment that the possibility of an upgrade across any department was ruled out so off-handedly. "What I was looking for was a recommendation to upgrade away from IE6," he says. "A recommendation isn’t hard, it’s cheap and easy and isn’t an admission of guilt. It puts the onus on the government departments to modernise, to innovate and to take care of [on] their own.

Well, you are putting your organization or department at RISK. 

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