The latest version of Internet Explorer is faster, more secure, and has better web standards support than older versions. For Windows 7 and Windows 8.1 users, upgrading to Internet Explorer 11 has significant benefits—and enabling automatic updating ensures that users will always be up-to-date. This is important, because two-thirds of all desktop computers are still using older, less secure browsers despite years of security advancements and updates. We are making continued investments not only in making a more secure browser, but also in helping consumers and commercial customers get—and stay—current.
New and improved security
Every version of Internet Explorer includes new and improved security protection, building on improvements from the previous version. Below are just a few of the security features added by each major version of Internet Explorer since 2001.
These security features and improvements are augmented with updates such as the ones being released this month, to make socially-engineered attacks and browser exploits more difficult on modern versions of Internet Explorer. According to NSS Labs, for example, malicious download block rates increased from 69% on Internet Explorer 8 in 2009 to over 99% on Internet Explorer 11. This month’s security update makes Internet Explorer more secure against exploits, but it needs to be installed to keep your browser up-to-date. The most recent, fully-patched version of Internet Explorer is more secure than older versions.
The threat from older browsers
According to NetMarketShare.com, two thirds of desktop browsers being used today are outdated. Older browsers are a problem not only for website developers using modern web standards, but also present a significant challenge in keeping the web ecosystem safe and secure. Older browsers and operating systems are more likely to be susceptible to attacks than modern, up-to-date systems.
How to stay up-to-date
Microsoft recommends enabling automatic updates to ensure your computing experience is always up-to-date. Regular updates provide significant benefits, such as improved security and reliability, and Windows Update can automatically install updates for Internet Explorer and Windows. To turn on or check the status of automatic updates, simply press the Start button, type “Update,” and select Windows Update. Installing updates automatically is recommended, as show in the Windows 7 dialog below.
Installing updates automatically is recommended, as shown here for Windows 7
Windows 8.1 users can check the status of Windows Update using this traditional interface or in the “Update and recovery” section of Windows Settings, as shown below. If you are still using Windows 8, you can update to Windows 8.1 in the Windows Store for free; see Update to Windows 8.1 from Windows 8.
Windows 8 users can check Windows Update settings in the “Update and recovery” section of Windows Settings
Commercial customers may have standardized on earlier versions of Internet Explorer, which is why Microsoft introduced Enterprise Mode for Internet Explorer 11 in April. Enterprise Mode offers better backward compatibility for earlier versions of Internet Explorer, and tools to manage which web apps use it. By offering better backward compatibility, Microsoft is making it easier than ever before for commercial customers to upgrade and stay current on the latest version of Internet Explorer. In addition to increased security, Internet Explorer 11 also helps unblock upgrades to Windows 8.1, services like Office 365, and the latest Windows devices.
Improving browser security and helping customers stay current
Microsoft will continue to make significant investments in improving browser security, and is ramping up our focus on helping consumers and commercial customers upgrade and stay up-to-date with the latest Internet Explorer browser. If you are using an older browser, upgrade to the latest version and enable automatic updates for more secure browsing. If you use an older version of Internet Explorer at work, encourage your IT department to learn more about Enterprise Mode for Internet Explorer 11. In the coming months, stay tuned for additional consumer-focused content and communications, updated enterprise resources and training, and other announcements.
Senior Product Marketing Manager
Updated November 8, 2014 2:12 am