If you still use an old version of Internet Explorer, it’s probably time to upgrade: Microsoft has confirmed that it will stop supporting IE 8, 9 and 10 on Tuesday 12 January, marking an end to security updates and technical support for users of older versions of the web browser.
On its page about the end of support date, Microsoft says: “Security updates patch vulnerabilities that may be exploited by malware, helping to keep users and their data safer. Regular security updates help protect computers from malicious attacks, so upgrading and staying current is important.”
As a result, it says, “Microsoft encourages customers to upgrade and stay up-to-date on the latest browser for a faster, more secure browsing experience”.
For users of newer operating systems, that’s easy enough. But Internet Explorer 11 is only available for Windows 7 to 10, meaning that users of earlier versions of Windows have no option but to carry on using the older versions.
That means that Microsoft has quietly also committed to continue supporting Internet Explorer 9 for users on Windows Vista, since it is the latest version available for that operating system. Users of Windows XP, however, are out of luck – a fact that should come as no surprise, since the operating system itself was also declared dead by the company in April 2014.
For users of the newer operating systems, there will be one final software update for IE 8, 9 and 10, on 12 January, which will fix the final security flaws found in the browsers, and introduce a prompt to upgrade. After that, it’s a good idea to do so. Inevitably, an unpatched vulnerability will be found in one of the browsers soon after, and it will make its way into malware as a matter of course.
If users have been paying attention they shouldn’t be caught unawares by the announcement, the end of life date was tentatively set back in August 2015.