IE6 used as Facebook blocker: Microsoft

IE6 used as Facebook blocker: Microsoft

Summary: Businesses that want to block access to social networking sites such as Facebook are not upgrading to the latest version of Internet Explorer (IE), according to Microsoft's Australian chief security adviser.


Businesses that want to block access to social networking sites such as Facebook are not upgrading to the latest version of Internet Explorer (IE), according to Microsoft's Australian chief security adviser.

Stuart Strathdee
(Credit: Microsoft)

"[Companies are] happy to stay with IE6 because ... a lot of the social networking sites and the sites that they deem are unnecessary for work purposes, they're not going to render and function properly within [older versions of] IE," Microsoft's Australian chief security adviser Stuart Strathdee said.

Instead of using web filtering products or acceptable usage policies to prevent employees accessing such sites, they rely on weaknesses in the old browser, he said.

"So it's a sideline security tactic, I suppose, rather than sitting down with their users and saying 'Here's what we define as a business use of our technology, and here's the sites you can go to and here's the sites we don't want you spending too much time on'. By not upgrading they don't have that problem," he said. "For a lot of our customers that's just a comfortable consequence of staying on IE6."

Strathdee, however, urged companies to make the move to IE8 because of better built-in security. He said it was a "no-brainer" for consumers and that Microsoft had many ways for enterprises to easily make the switch.

Topics: Microsoft, Browser, Government AU, Security, Social Enterprise

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  • Any business that uses IE6's lack of support for modern web standards, as a sneak web filter, does not deserve to survive. How spineless and backward.
    Not only are you exposing your business to unnecessary risk (IE6 being inherently insecure) you haven't got the guts to produce an "acceptable internet use" policy for your staff nor the intelligence to use a simple web filter.
    My employer has used a clear policy and a simple site blocker for years. As Stuart Strathdee says: moving to IE8 is a no-brainer!
    A contact of mine works for a large worldwide organisation with vision and initiative. They use Facebook (and some other social networking tools), in a modified way, for business purposes. It works for them.
  • My previous employer would have almost certainly used the fact the IE6 does not allow access to facebook as a reason not to invest the time in upgrading.

    Mind you this is the same company that had to upgrade about 300 Pc's TO IE6 from IE5.5 so they could run the latest Anti-Virus program (not sure why....).
  • That's really clever! You know, IE6 is more than just a way to block modern social networking sites. It's also a way to prevent about 50% of the web from functioning properly! By using a browser that's a decade old (which in the computing world = about 100 years old) you're casting your vote AGAINST progress and FOR the prolonged use of obsolete technology. So, congratulations! Pat yourself on the back for your innovative re-use of old software. And while you're at it, I'll give you a pro tip: Downgrading from a computer to a typewriter would deny employees internet access altogether and should boost employee productivity in leaps and bounds!
    ...You're welcome. :-D
    Quantum Anomaly
  • facebook seems to render fine in ie6. I've just tried it ::confused::
    stephen ainsworth
  • Is anyone really taking this article seriously?!?!?!? What a vapid, silly comment by a "Security Advisor" from a software cmpany with a huge vested interest, that is desparate to kep users on its browser and apps. This is how ZDNet analyses vendor's statements?
    Anyone with an ounce of industry knowledge knows that enterprises are struggling to get off IE6 due to, amongst other things, hugely complex in-house legacy systems. Systems that have been customised to within an inch of their lives over many, many years. Systems that are so business critical, with so much historical data, and so ultra-expensive to replace or upgrade that staying on IE6 is a tiny price to pay.
    Granted, this is usually the company's own fault, as they've buried their heads in the sand for so long, and ignored the advice from their own IT, but this doesn't excuse publishing such a misleading and totally off the mark press release as "news".