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  1. Microsoft 365 drops support for Internet Explorer 11 in August Microsoft has reminded customers that Microsoft 365 apps and services will drop support for the legacy Internet Explorer 11 (IE11) web browser next month, on August 17, 2021. After the end of support is reached, those still trying to connect to Microsoft 365 may face degraded user experience or connection failures. "These apps and services will phase out over weeks and months to ensure a smooth end of support, with each app and service phasing out on independent schedules," the Microsoft 365 team said earlier this week. According to Microsoft, users experiencing issues when attempting to access Microsoft 365 apps or services after August 17 will not be offered support. No new features will be released, and the daily usage experience will most likely get steadily worse until the M365 apps and services slowly phase out. Additionally, using the new Microsoft Edge's Internet Explorer mode will not help extend IE11 access to Microsoft 365 products beyond the end of support. Image: Microsoft This is how the M365 application experience will look like for IE11 users starting with August 17: Outlook Web App: Users logging in with AAD accounts will still receive the full OWA experience but will not receive new features beginning August 17, 2021, while users logging in with Microsoft Accounts (MSA) will be redirected to the Outlook Web App Light experience. Open with Explorer/View in File Explorer (SharePoint): We understand that some customers may continue to use Open with Explorer and View in File Explorer (only accessible in IE11) to access document libraries. To avoid disruption, these customers will be able to use these features for now when they go to a document library in IE11. These features remain in maintenance mode and aren't receiving further development. We encourage all customers to move to a modern browser and OneDrive sync for a better user experience and easier access to files. For more information on how to prepare your SharePoint environment for end of support on IE11, please read this Docs article. All other apps and services will phase out over weeks and months to ensure a smooth end of support with each app and service phasing out on independent schedules. IE11 to reach EOS on some Windows 10 versions next year This reminder comes after Microsoft first announced plans to ditch support for the Microsoft Edge Legacy and Internet Explorer 11 web browsers in Windows 10 and Microsoft 365. Following that initial announcement, Microsoft Teams had already dropped support for Internet Explorer 11 on November 30, 2020. Two months ago, Redmond also revealed that it would also retire the legacy browser on some Windows 10 versions on June 15, 2022, replacing it with the new Chromium-based Microsoft Edge. After being retired on systems running Windows 10 client SKUs (version 20H2 and later) and Windows 10 IoT (version 20H2 and later), the Internet Explorer desktop app will be disabled, automatically redirecting users to Microsoft Edge when launched. Enterprise organizations depending on legacy Internet Explorer-based websites and apps for critical processes can still use them with Microsoft Edge's IE mode (more info available in this Getting Started guide.) In related news, WordPress, the most popular blogging platform, also announced in March 2021 that it is planning to drop support for Internet Explorer 11 as the browser's usage has already dipped below 1%. Microsoft 365 drops support for Internet Explorer 11 in August
  2. Internet Explorer 11 is set to retire next year Internet Explorer 11 (IE11) is finally reaching the end of its operational cycle. Microsoft announced today that the support for the desktop application for IE11 will end on June 15, 2022, and the application will be retired. However, Windows 10 LSTC, Server Internet Explorer 11 desktop applications, and MSHTML (Trident) engine will be unaffected by this deadline. To ensure a smooth transition and allow ample time for the general public and corporations to shift from the legacy browser, Microsoft has announced a timeline for the gradual phasing out of IE11. Originally introduced with Windows 8.1 in 2013, IE11 was built as a modern, default web browser for Windows. A few months after its initial announcement, it rose to become the second most used desktop browser worldwide. This was at a time when its predecessor Internet Explorer 8, was the most popular web browser on the charts. Times have changed since then and we're now in an era where the Edge Chromium, Google Chrome, and Mozilla Firefox are leading the pack. This has been coming for a while. Last year in January, Microsoft introduced the new chromium-based Edge browser that will replace Edge Legacy, which had replaced IE11 earlier with the introduction of Windows 10. In August of the same year, the Redmond giant announced that it will be ending its support for Microsoft 365 and other web apps like Microsoft Teams on IE11. Edge Legacy was then replaced fully by the new chromium-based Edge browser via Windows Update. "We can’t thank everyone enough for supporting Internet Explorer over the years. Many people and organizations around the world have depended on IE to support them as they’ve learned, grown and conducted business online. Microsoft Edge with Internet Explorer mode inherits this important responsibility, and we look forward to supporting you online with Microsoft Edge." Microsoft affirms that the future of Windows 10 lies with Chromium Edge (now called Microsoft Edge). The new browser has quickly risen in popularity and is now the default web browser on Windows 10. The Redmond giant says that it is "a faster, more secure and more modern browsing experience than Internet Explorer" and that it also has compatibility for older websites and applications baked into it. As such, the firm recommends switching to Microsoft Edge before the retirement of the IE11 desktop application on June 15 of next year. For enterprises and corporations who want more assistance and information before making the switch, Microsoft has written some details specific to that on its blog post and on this list of FAQs. Source: Internet Explorer 11 is set to retire next year
  3. WordPress Considers Dropping Support for IE 11 After Usage Falls Below 1% A new proposal on WordPress.org explores the ramifications of dropping support for Internet Explorer 11 (IE11). Héctor Prieto summarized the current state of IE usage among WordPress users, citing three metrics that demonstrate declining usage that is now cumulatively below ~1%: 0.71% from StatCounter’s GlobalStats 1.2% from W3 Counter 0.46% from WordPress.com StatCounter’s GlobalStats record IE11 having dipped below 1.0% for the first time in August 2020, and it has continued declining steadily since then. The numbers cited in the proposal are similar to those contributors used when WordPress 4.8 officially dropped support for IE versions 8, 9, and 10 in 2017. These types of browser support decisions are always carefully considered, as they affect more users than one might guess, given the scale of a software project with more than 40% market share of all websites. “It’s important to keep in mind that when viewing these statistics in the context of WordPress, these percentages represent tens (if not hundreds) of thousands of users that could potentially be left behind if support for IE11 is dropped,” Prieto said. Most of the people still using IE11 are doing so because of forces outside their control. They may not have the ability to simply download an alternative browser. This is more common for users working inside major institutions like banking, government, and education. At this point in WordPress’ history, the benefits for the web seem to heavily outweigh the negative impacts on a small percentage of users who might be affected by lack of IE11 support. Improving the performance of the editor is one driving factor in this decision. Prieto shared stats from an exploration by Gutenberg developer Riad Benguella, where he measured the impact of dropping IE11 support, demonstrating an 84.9 kB (7%) reduction in Gutenberg JavaScript build files. “Dropping support would result in smaller scripts, lower maintenance burden, and decrease build times,” Prieto said. “The smaller downloads would positively impact all users, especially those on slower networks, or computing devices. We expect a result of dropping IE11 support to improve performance for the vast majority of users.” Most of those participating in the discussion on WordPress.org are strongly in favor of dropping support for IE11, but a few cautioned that it must be done in a controlled way, with an EOL date announced months in advance. There are some institutions that selected WordPress for their projects based solely on the fact that it offers IE11 support, and they need time to plan a transition. “I can see the crowd cheering for finally getting rid of IE and trust me I’ll be the first to pop champagne when that day has finally come,” WordPress developer Thomas Kräftner said. “Still I believe we need to make sure this is done in a slow, controlled and careful way so the effort saved for not supporting IE doesn’t backfire with extra, even more hellish work for those that don’t yet have the choice to drop IE.” Approximately 16 months ago, Riad Benguella proposed WordPress add a notice to discourage Internet Explorer usage. Shortly thereafter, the Browse Happy API was updating to consider all versions of Internet Explorer as insecure. In the most recent conversation on WordPress.org, contributors suggested taking it a step further and change the notice to state that IE11 support will be dropped in WP-Admin by the end of year. Many shared additional benefits not outlined in the proposal. “There’s lots of things we can’t use right now because of the IE11 constraint: CSS Variables, CSS grid, Modern JS are just the 1st things that come to mind,” Ari Stathopoulos commented. “We would be able to ship smaller files to 40% of the web, so the environmental impact of this change would be quite big, a huge win for our sustainability efforts! 99% of WP’s userbase has suffered enough already because of the IE limitation, and removing support for it can really make a dent and urge the few remaining IE users to use a better/newer browser.” Prieto said the initial proposal was just to get the conversation started and was not meant to go into technical implementation details. WordPress contributors are invited to offer feedback about the proposal in the comments before March 18. Source: WordPress Considers Dropping Support for IE 11 After Usage Falls Below 1%
  4. Microsoft Makes Internet Explorer 11 Available for More Users Microsoft has recently announced that Windows Server 2012 and Windows Embedded 8 Standard will be allowed to download Internet Explorer 11 beginning this spring. Previously, these two platforms were only allowed to update to Internet Explorer 10, which will reach the end of support in January 2020. Microsoft says Internet Explorer 11 will be originally available on the Microsoft Update Catalog, and the new browser will also be offered through Windows Update and Windows Server Update Services (WSUS) later this year too. In January 2020, Microsoft will stop releasing security updates for Internet Explorer 10 and Windows 7, so devices not upgraded to newer versions would technically be exposed to exploits aimed at unpatched vulnerabilities.Full focus on Microsoft EdgeFurthermore, Microsoft warns that after the January 2020 deadline, the company wouldn’t even offer custom support to companies interesting in paying fur continued updates. “After this, we will not release any security or non-security updates, free or paid assisted support options, or online technical content changes for IE10,” it says. “We encourage you to use the time available to pilot IE11 in your environments. Upgrading to the latest version of Internet Explorer will ease the migration path to Windows 10, Windows Server 2016 or 2019, or Windows 10 IoT, and unlock the next generation of technology and productivity. It will also allow you to reduce the number of Internet Explorer versions you support in your environment.” In the meantime, Microsoft is hard at work on transitioning Microsoft Edge browser to the Chromium engine. A preview build of the new build is projected to go live in the first quarter of 2019, while the stable version could be shipped sometime later this year or in 2020. Internet Explorer no longer receives new features, but only security updates and fixes, and the software giant recommends everyone to switch to Microsoft Edge for full support. Source
  5. Internet Explorer 11 zero-day vulnerability gets a free micropatch An Internet Explorer 11 zero-day vulnerability used against security researchers, not yet fixed by Microsoft, today received a micropatch that prevents exploitation. Last month, Google and Microsoft disclosed that the North Korean state-sponsored hacking group known as Lazarus was conducting social engineering attacks against security researchers. As part of these attacks, the threat actors would contact security researchers via social media and ask if they wanted to collaborate on vulnerability and exploit research. Those interested were sent links to blog posts containing exploit kits, malicious Visual Studio projects, or MHTML files that would install a custom backdoor. While investigating these attacks, though, the command and control servers were down, so it was impossible to see what exploits were used in these attacks. Internet Explorer zero-day used in attacks This month, South Korean cybersecurity firm ENKI disclosed that Lazarus targeted their security researchers with MHTML files in the same social engineering campaign. Malicious MHTML file sent to researchers An MHT file, or MIME HTML, is a special file format used by Internet Explorer to store a web page and its resources in a single archive file. When an MHT file is launched, Windows will automatically use Internet Explorer to open the file as it is configured as the default file handler. ENKI states that their researchers were not infected and were able to analyze the payloads to discover an Internet Explorer 11 zero-day used in the attack. Free IE 11 micropatch released At this time, Microsoft has not publicly acknowledged the Internet Explorer zero-day or assigned a CVE identifier to the vulnerability. Furthermore, Mitja Kolsek, CEO of ACROS Security and co-founder of the 0patch micropatching service, has confirmed that the vulnerability has not been fixed during the February Patch Tuesday. Today, 0Patch announced that they have begun to push out a micropatch for the Internet Explorer 11 vulnerability as it was actively used in attacks. "Our approach to patching was to break an obscure browser functionality allowing an HTML Attribute value (normally a string) to be an object, which we assess to be useful to *very* few web developers whose apps are supposed to work with Internet Explorer." "Our micropatch gets applied inside the CAttribute::put_ie9_nodeValue function of mshtml.dll, where it checks the VARIANT type of the value that JavaScript code wants to assign to an attribute - and prevents that from happening if the type is 9 (object)." - Mitja Kolsek Until Microsoft comes up with an official patch, users can use this temporary one from the 0Patch platform. The temporary, free fix from 0Patch works for the following systems: For Windows systems updated to Updated to January 2021 patches Windows 7 + ESU Server 2008 R2 + ESU Windows 10 v1809, v1909, v2004, v20H2 Windows Server 2016, 2019 For Windows systems updated to January 2020 patches: Windows 7 w/o ESU Windows Server 2008 R2 w/o ESU "Internet Explorer is inherently present in all large organizations (even if not as the primary browser), and a vulnerability like this can very efficiently be used in an external or internal attack to compromise users' workstations. We'd certainly use it in a penetration test," Kolsek told BleepingComputer. Source: Internet Explorer 11 zero-day vulnerability gets a free micropatch
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