Risk
3/16/2011
03:07 PM
50%
50%

UniBrows Runs IE6 Apps In Internet Explorer 8

Browsium positions the lightweight add-on as a "web application continuity" tool that can restore multiple versions of Microsoft's browser to the last-known working state.

Great Lost Software: 16 Gone But Not Forgotten
(click image for larger view)
Slideshow: Great Lost Software: 16 Gone But Not Forgotten

On Tuesday, startup Browsium announced the release of UniBrows, a lightweight browser add-on that enables existing Internet Explorer 6 applications to be run "as is" in IE8, on Windows XP, Windows Vista, and Windows 7 operating systems. UniBrows is transparent to end users. When they require an IE6 application, it simply loads in an IE8 tab.

Browsium is an enterprise software vendor which specializes in web application continuity. Behind the scenes, IT administrators use the UniBrows configuration manager to specify when the IE6 engine should load, on a per-application basis. They also can impose security restrictions, and allow legacy ActiveX and Java. These security settings are distributed to UniBrows clients using Group Policy Objects in Active Directory.

Who's still using IE6? According to Net Applications, as of February 2011, IE6 still accounted for 11% of all browsers, behind IE8 (35%), and Firefox (18%), but ahead of IE7 (8%) and Chrome (8%). Of course, IE6 use likely isn't by choice. "What people are clamoring for is to not run IE6, they're clamoring for a way to get off of it, and they're stuck on it," said Gary Schare, president and COO of Browsium in an interview.

Indeed, IE6 is outdated, unsupported, poses a security risk, and requires Windows XP. This not only prevents organizations from upgrading to Windows 7 -- Windows XP still commands twice the market share -- but also from installing a newer version of IE, or using applications such as Microsoft SharePoint 2010.

Many organizations, however, still rely on numerous, custom-developed applications that won't run on a modern browser. Others, meanwhile, bought software from the likes of PeopleSoft, SAP, Siebel, Hyperion, and niche, vertical-sector players, that's no longer supported.

"IE6 was the browser that had 95% market share at one point, so everyone built to it, and it had a lot of propriety interfaces. It was revolutionary in its day," said Schare, who was the IE project manager from the middle of IE6 through to IE8. He said that while UniBrows beta users hailed from all sectors, there's been a disproportionate level of interest from banking, pharmaceutical, and healthcare organizations, because they tend to use a relatively large number of custom-developed applications.

Interestingly, Browsium isn't pitching UniBrows merely as an IE6 salve, but also as a "Web Application Continuity" tool, able to freeze or restore IE8, IE7, or IE6 to its last-known working state. "New versions of Flash or Java tend to break very fragile Web apps," said Schare. "We let you freeze your Web app platform at whatever known-good state you need to make it work."

In the wake of Microsoft' s Monday release of IE9, he said that an IE9-comptible version of UniBrows should be released in a few weeks, after further compatibility testing.

Price-wise, for organizations with 5,000 to 50,000 PCs, UniBrows costs $5,000 annually, plus $5 per seat.

Comment  | 
Print  | 
More Insights
Register for Dark Reading Newsletters
White Papers
Cartoon
Current Issue
Dark Reading Tech Digest, Dec. 19, 2014
Software-defined networking can be a net plus for security. The key: Work with the network team to implement gradually, test as you go, and take the opportunity to overhaul your security strategy.
Flash Poll
Video
Slideshows
Twitter Feed
Dark Reading - Bug Report
Bug Report
Enterprise Vulnerabilities
From DHS/US-CERT's National Vulnerability Database
CVE-2010-5075
Published: 2014-12-27
Integer overflow in aswFW.sys 5.0.594.0 in Avast! Internet Security 5.0 Korean Trial allows local users to cause a denial of service (memory corruption and panic) via a crafted IOCTL_ASWFW_COMM_PIDINFO_RESULTS DeviceIoControl request to \\.\aswFW.

CVE-2011-4720
Published: 2014-12-27
Hillstone HS TFTP Server 1.3.2 allows remote attackers to cause a denial of service (daemon crash) via a long filename in a (1) RRQ or (2) WRQ operation.

CVE-2011-4722
Published: 2014-12-27
Directory traversal vulnerability in the TFTP Server 1.0.0.24 in Ipswitch WhatsUp Gold allows remote attackers to read arbitrary files via a .. (dot dot) in the Filename field of an RRQ operation.

CVE-2012-1203
Published: 2014-12-27
Cross-site request forgery (CSRF) vulnerability in starnet/index.php in SyndeoCMS 3.0 and earlier allows remote attackers to hijack the authentication of administrators for requests that add user accounts via a save_user action.

CVE-2012-1302
Published: 2014-12-27
Multiple cross-site scripting (XSS) vulnerabilities in amMap 2.6.3 allow remote attackers to inject arbitrary web script or HTML via the (1) data_file or (2) settings_file parameter to ammap.swf, or (3) the data_file parameter to amtimeline.swf.

Best of the Web
Dark Reading Radio
Archived Dark Reading Radio
Join us Wednesday, Dec. 17 at 1 p.m. Eastern Time to hear what employers are really looking for in a chief information security officer -- it may not be what you think.