I had just finished opening an account at the local bank late last week when I happened to catch a glimpse of the bank manager’s computer screen: He had about 20 Web browser windows open, and it was hard to ignore the fact that he was using Internet Explorer 6 to surf the Web.
For more than a second I paused, and considered asking for my deposit back.
“Whoa,” I said. “Are you really still using IE6?”
“Yeah,” the guy grinned sheepishly, shaking his head. “We’re supposed to get new computers soon, but I dunno, that’s been a long time coming.”
“Wow. That’s nuts,” I said. “You’ve heard about this latest attack on IE, right?”
I might as well have asked him about the airspeed velocity of an African Swallow. Dude just shook his head, and so did I.
Well, you can’t really blame the poor guy for not knowing. Just hours before, Microsoft Chief Executive Steve Ballmer looked a bit like a deer in headlights when, standing in front of the White House in a planned CNBC interview on how the Obama administration is looking to use technology to streamline its operations, he was suddenly asked about a report just released from McAfee effectively blaming a slew of recent cyber break-ins at Google, Adobe and more than 30 top other Silicon Valley firms on a previously unknown flaw in IE.
“Cyber attacks and occasional vulnerabilities are a way of life,” Ballmer said. “If the issue is with us, we’ll work through it with all of the important parties. We have a whole team of people that responds very real time to any report that it may have something to do with our software, which we don’t know yet.”