All about Google Chrome & Google Chrome OS

10 Jan 12 Browser update overdue for too many

By Yoon Ja-young

Major portals and online game sites here recently stopped supporting Internet Explorer (IE) 6. As they won’t include it when they test their services, users of the old browser may encounter errors.

It is a desperate countermeasure to induce people to install updated versions of IE or other Web browsers such as Firefox or Chrome.

Korea is often dubbed an IT powerhouse, thanks to its ultra-high speed Internet service and people’s eagerness to use the latest devices, on top of being home to top global manufacturers like Samsung Electronics.

However, when it comes to Web browsers, Korea is more outdated than any other country in the world.

Over a decade has passed since the launch of IE 6 and Microsoft has released IE 7, 8 and 9 since then, providing better functions and protection from cyber attacks.

Despite this, people here are stuck to the obsolete browser. According to StatCounter, only 1.62 percent of Internet users are still using IE 6 worldwide, while the ratio stands at 6.74 percent in Korea, second only to China among major countries.

The nearly disused version is bad not only for those unwilling to give it up but also for the whole IT industry. Most of all, many security problems occur as a result. As hackers can secure enough information from the browser, it is vulnerable to security breaches. Hackers use IE 6 to spread viruses or as a means to conduct a DDoS attack that can paralyze computers. As it isn’t based on the Web standard, it is also adding hours of work for program developers.

The industry and the government have made efforts to induce people to upgrade, including notices to those who log on to major portals with the outdated browser. Some users, nevertheless, refuse to switch.

Microsoft Korea says it doesn’t know the exact reason. Some of them may be not updating because they are using illegal copies of Windows but it doesn’t explain why so many won’t change. It just seems that they don’t have any motivation to update, even though there are compelling reasons.

Koreans are known for upgrading to the latest cell phone even while their old phone functions without any problem. According to statistics, consumers here switch phones every 27 months on average, compared to 46 months in Japan.

While brandishing advanced mobile handsets, yet for no cost and only a few clicks, Web surfers are reluctant to update their browsers.

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