I recently upgraded to Windows 10 and started using the new Edge browser, so do I still need to install critical updates for Internet Explorer?
This question was answered on August 19, 2015. Much of the information contained herein may have changed since posting.
Microsoft’s Edge browser is a complete departure from Internet Explorer and is actually a completely different product.
One of the reasons Microsoft took this approach was to shed all of the legacy compatibility issues that continues to hamstring Internet Explorer to this day.
Both performance and security have been improved by avoiding all of the older code, so if you actually never use Internet Explorer, it may seem that updating it isn’t necessary, but it is.
Edge is still very early in its development cycle and compatibility issues do exist with some web tools, so you may have to jump to an alternative browser from time to time.
I’m not a big fan of Internet Explorer, but removing it from the operating system can have some unintended consequences because of how it integrates with Windows, so I don’t recommend it.
So if it’s installed on your computer, even if you don’t use it, you really should continue to ensure that it’s kept updated in the event it somehow gets launched.
A number of scenarios exist that could result in someone using Internet Explorer including older programs that auto-launch a browser window, malicious links or messages that can call up IE specifically and redirect to rigged sites or a friend or family member that manually chooses it over the Edge browser.
If it’s installed on your system, you really need to keep it updated. New vulnerabilities such as the most recent one can allow remote hackers to take advantage of users simply because they visited a malicious website.
For those that are regularly using Internet Explorer on any version of Windows, it’s critical that you get this current update according to Microsoft.
The posted warning says “The vulnerability could allow remote code execution if a user views a specially crafted webpage using Internet Explorer.
An attacker who successfully exploits this vulnerability could gain the same user rights as the current user (as if they’re sitting at your desk). This security update is rated Critical for Internet Explorer 7, 8, 9, 10, and 11.”
If you have Windows Updates set to automatically install, you should already have it in place. If you want to make sure it’s been installed, go to the Control Panel, then open Windows Update and look for the ‘View update history’ link.
When you open the history window, you should see ‘Security Update for Internet Explorer XX for Windows’ and a reference to either KB3087985 or 3081444 towards the top of the list.
If you don’t see any reference to the update, you can manually download the update based on your version of IE and Windows with this link: https://goo.gl/fai0Om.
Browser exploits are nothing new and they will continue to be the target of sophisticated hackers because it’s how we all connect to the Internet, regardless of what type of computer we’re using.
I personally prefer Google’s Chrome or Mozilla’s Firefox over Internet Explorer on all of my Windows computers and over Apple’s Safari browser on my Mac computers, because of their performance, flexibility and security advantages.
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Posted by Ken Colburn of Data Doctors on August 19, 2015