Open Letter to an Internet Explorer 6 (IE6) User
Thursday, April 30 2009 @ 03:06 PM EDT
Contributed by: richardpitt
An open letter to a member who has complained that because we've changed our software, they can't use IE6 to view
I've posted this here because among other things, I try to teach my readers and customers about what is going on in the "Wild Wild Web" and why they should be thinking all the time about the security of their computers and access. The lesson applies not only to IE6, but to every single thing that is on any computer that might come in contact with the internet. The hackers and crackers our there - the "bad uglies" as I call them, are not sitting still - they are evolving their abuses of the internet as fast as the creators of web systems can fix and deploy them. Sometimes, as in yesterday's Adobe "zero-day" PDF problem, the hackers attack a vulnerability the day it is noted to exist.
"I think it is unfair that you would change software in the middle of the Horby Eagles' Hatchings. Those of us living outside Canada (from BC) watched it faithfully and then one day we just could not. As I only have Microsoft Int. Explorer 6 you are now unreachable."
The article at http://www.hancockwildlifechannel.org/article.php/HWF-ChannelNewLookGlfusion tells the story of what was done. We updated to the latest version of glFusion - an offshoot of, and update to the Geeklog we have used since the site was first created. Part of the reason for the update was to fix some known problems and security holes in the version (1.4.0sr3) we had been using. Part of the reason was for new features and included in those features is a module called "Bad Behavior"
The internet in general and the web in particular have undergone continuous evolution since they first began. I wrote some of the first ever web pages in Canada back in 1993 and did it with a text editor, putting things like "<b>" for bold and "<i>" for italic - and being limited to 256 colors and graphics that were "gif" format - no photos, etc.
Today the vast majority of web pages are written using tools that do much of the work behind the scenes. They allow people like our members to add content in a variety of formats undreamed of when the web first started - without knowing anything "under the hood" - like how to craft the HTML that actually does the work. These "Content Managers" (we use glFusion now) are the key to "Web 2.0" where the viewing public creates content and comments on the subject of the site - in this case our wildlife cameras.
The software we use is complex - and not only has it evolved, the hackers who want to take over web sites and use them for their own nefarious uses have also evolved - I've battled one such hacker on an older version of this software for the past 2 months - they keep hacking it and putting Italian sub-titled movies on a server so they steal the network bandwidth paid for by my customer to sell these movies. I'm updating that site to this latest version too now that the customer has agreed that they would rather pay me to fix the problem than pay the extra network bandwidth charges (and this particular hack is nothing compared to the porn and spam hackers)
So we have to update our software - it is NOT an option.
You also should be updating your software for the same reason.
We recently had an issue where one of our long-term members was suddenly stopped, by our discussion forum software, from posting in the forum. They were stopped because the network address they post from was flagged as having been the source of spam and bad postings - by other sites - and our software checks this. The point is that person's computer or one on their home network (which could have included someone in a car using an open wireless access point by the way - so lock down your wireless network too) likely did or had contained a virus that posted spam - and it may have gotten in because they didn't keep their software up to date including their anti-virus checker.
You have IE6 on your machine - and Microsoft as well as the anti-virus vendors are no longer fully supporting it because it has a lot of security holes in it. They were there when it was designed and fixing it is not an option. Microsoft chose to replace it with IE7 and now they're at the point where they're strongly suggesting (using their auto update system as of 2 days ago) that people update to IE8, which again has even more security designed in from the beginning.
If you can't use a newer version of Internet Explorer, then please download and use the free browser Firefox - we strongly recommend using it in any case.
The bottom line is, our new software is protecting us - and letting you know why.
We can't change our software