Microsoft is pulling the plug on older versions of the Internet Explorer Web browser next week, pushing a patch that will warn users to move to an updated browser or risk security flaws.
The patch, which will go live Jan. 12, triggers a notification that will display every time the browser is opened, urging users to abandon IE 8, 9 and 10, and adopt Microsoft Edge, the new browser only available bundled with Windows 10.
An advisory on Microsoft’s website also pushes users toward IE11, the recently-released final version of the venerable browser — which many experts regard as long-surpassed. Unlike Edge, IE11 is a free download.
“Internet Explorer 11 offers improved security, increased performance, better backward compatibility, and support for the web standards that power today’s websites and services,” the website reads. “Microsoft encourages customers to upgrade and stay up-to-date on the latest browser for a faster, more secure browsing experience.”
In the patch notice, Microsoft also gives enterprise users a way to turn the nagging update notification off through configuration of registry keys.
According to StatCounter, Internet Explorer was used in 16.5 percent of all measured Web traffic in December 2015, making it the second most popular desktop browser in the world. That number has declined in the past year from 24 percent.
When software publishers stop pushing out security and bug fixes on a regular basis for any widely installed program, users quickly find themselves vulnerable to an ever-growing number of unpatched security holes that can be exploited by hackers and cybercriminals.
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