Q

Securing IE with plug-ins Google Chrome Frame and IETab

Web browser plug-ins can bolster IE security for legacy apps that have to run on outdated versions of Internet Explorer.

Could you give me a bit more information on Google Chrome Frame? Our organization operates several legacy applications that have to run on outdated versions of IE. Is Google Chrome Frame a viable way to bolster security across the enterprise, or is there another tool we should use?

Google Chrome Frame is a plug-in for Internet Explorer versions 6-9 that, according to Chromium.org, provides “access to the latest HTML5 features as well as Google Chrome’s performance and security features.” The Google Chrome Frame promises to improve the security of older browsers when visiting a website that opts into using the plug-in, but won’t affect the security for the rest of the Internet. This allows users to continue to use their current version of Internet Explorer, but also benefit from the Google Chrome Frame’s functionality. This will not significantly improve security since it is unlikely that a malicious website will target Google Chrome Frame to exploit rather than exploiting the version of Internet Explorer in use.

There is a similar project called IETab that may improve security more than Google Chrome Frame. IETab is a Web browser plug-in for Google Chrome (or Firefox) that uses Internet Explorer to display a webpage in a tab in the browser. You can configure IETab to always open certain URLs such as your legacy applications or websites requiring IE. This way, you are still using IE for some trusted websites, but your users are not generally browsing the Internet using old versions of Internet Explorer.

This was first published in November 2011

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