South Koreans forced to use Internet Explorer for online shopping

Internet Explorer dominates Chrome in South Korea.

South Koreans are still being forced to use Internet Explorer in an outdated law created over a decade ago designed to protect security.

Up to 76% of people in South Korea use Internet Explorer partly due to a law which requires citizens to transact through the browser. The statistic generated by web analytics firm StatCounter, is the highest in the world leading China, Japan, Afghanistan and Iran.    

The government introduced the law in the 1990’s to ensure shoppers could shop online freely and securely though Internet Explorer’s strong online authentication via digital certificates. With the arrival of several other alternatives, little effort has been made to revoke the law which is causing an inconvenience for its citizens. 

Apple users are particularly affected, having to resort to internet cafes, or multi-boot programs to run Windows in order to make online transactions with Internet Explorer. An Apple retailer in Seoul says the law poses “no problem”, as special software and a copy of Windows 7 can be attained for a mere $220.

Some users must resort to expensive programs to make online transactions.

The browser’s reputation is thought to be “ancient” among internet users who have made a switch to Google Chrome, Mozilla Firefox and Safari. However, the latest figures suggest it is making gains over Chrome as 58.22% of desktop users worldwide use the program.

Microsoft ensures they have “redeemed” themselves in the latest and improved IE 11 which could add to possibility of a return to its dominant position it held in the 1990’s.

Source: Washington Post | Images via ZDNet, CrystalXP

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Poor South Koreans. I've piddled around with IE in Windows 8 for a little bit just to give it a trial run, and it was terrible when I tried it out. Took forever to start up, and when it did it crashed for no apparent reason while browsing Neowin. No error message, it just closed.

Aren't there addons for Firefox and Chrome to make them appear to be Internet Explorer when websites check? While they would be technically illegal, it would prevent Mac users from having to pay $220 for an operating system they don't want just to do their online shopping.

Doh knows about it correctly. This terrible story goes back to 1990s. In 90s, E-Commerce and E-Banking was introduced in South Korea. But, U.S.A can not permit using 128-bit encryption of the web browsers from the out side of their country.

So, South Korea government decides developing own 128bit encryption called SEED via ActiveX plug-in. And that system using until now even U.S.A open their encryption system such as AES-128.

And terrible one thing added to E-Commerce, E-Banking is 'Personal Certification'. Before use credit card or e-bank transaction, User must take a 'Certification' from the Bank(Offline Office). It just a small private key file and doesn't much improve the safety and security. This system also relied on the ActiveX plug-in.

This whole idiot system connected with huge security companies, their lobbyist and politicians. It's a really big market for black money and most people who lived in South Korea doesn't know about it. They believes more security plug-ins are help their security. But NEVER!

Even that idiot system are working, All type of hacking accident happened in Korea too.
Some of you may asking "Why are you do not dropping that system?", Answer is very simple because South Korea politics is messed up by regionalism.

"The browser's reputation is thought to be “ancient” among internet users who have made a switch to Google Chrome, Mozilla Firefox and Safari. "

Where did they come up with that line of bull? Who cares what "users who have made the switch" think? I haven't made that switch and that's NOT what I think, as do most other users obviously, as IE still is the #1 over all used browser out there!

South Koreans are still being forced to use Internet Explorer in an outdated
law created over a decade ago designed to protect security.

That is so pathetic it's laughable. Granted the security in IE has improved somewhat in recent years,
but a decade ago, the security in IE was severely lacking, with serious vulnerabilities being found
frequently, some of them being left unpatched by Microsoft for several months at a time.

In the last decade, IE has had the absolute worst track record for security. It's for this reason why
since 2004 onwards, along with numerous warnings by online security experts, people switched
to the likes of Firefox in droves to escape IE's dengerous insecurities.

Thankfully it's a bit more of a level playing field nowadays, but for a country to have forced its
people to use what was undeniably the most dangerously insecure browser of the time, due
to its "strong online authentication via digital certificates" as if other browsers didn't offer
the same thing, if not better, is totally unacceptable.

A decade ago security EVERYWHERE was severely lacking. What other options did we had back then? Opera? Mozilla Browser? Netscape?
They offered the same (or even worse) security hell hole IE6 did.

And the worst track of security history the last decade is because of the browser being the most used. The moment IE stopped being 90% of the internet browsing, other browsers took over the security hell hole status.

Besides what was a decade ago, is completely irrelevant now. Since IE8 IE has been king of security. Took 1,5 years before someone managed to get outside the sandboxing of IE8 to do harm that's effective after you close the browser. IE9 it took 7-8 months if i'm not mistaken. IE10 also took a few months. And AFAIK there has not been a single flaw that has broken through IE11's protected mode.

On the other side there's Firefox, with enough security bulletins per day that should make you question its security.
And Chrome, whose entire security platform is pretty much reliant on the underlying OS. (hence why Google always required (not sure if still) Win7+Chrome for security contests)
Plus Chrome has had PLENTY of security issues, the last virus that made it onto my system through a browser was Chrome (Iron rather) because of a drive-by......

Yeah IE is horrible, learn to rationalize dude.

Shadowzz said,

To be exact, of all software:

Firefox is 2nd with 1002 vulnerabilities since launch (only Linux is worse)
Chrome is 3th with 863 vulnerabilities since launch (2008)
IE is 6th with 631 vulnerabilities since launch (the '90s)
Webkit is seperatly listened and has 210 vulnerabilities since launch (40th place)

And that's completely and utterly irrelevant to the topic at hand. There are hundreds of people in the US starving to death each day, too. I don't see you crying about them...

Browser identification is based on the user agent it includes in HTTP requests, and that can be easily controlled by the end user. I can make my firefox appear as chrome, ie or opera.

Unplugged said,
Im curious as to how they "police" this seeing as a Browser Ident is quite easy to fake.

They probably don't police it very well. UA sniffing will be how it's done, but 90%+ of South Koreans won't know how to change their UA string, so as long as the retailer does the UA sniff, I would presume to think that the regulator would be happy.

It doesn't work that way. In Korea, the online payment system or any financial transactions require the user to install several certificate/security plugins. Without these plugins, you just can't make any payments or make any online banking transactions.

The problem is these certificate/security plugins have been only available for IE. Slowly, very slowly they're rolling out plugins for other browsers as several banking institutions allow the use of firefox/safari/chrome for most of the transactions. But online shopping still requires the use of IE.

The real reason behind this antiquated system is the kickbacks or rebates the politicians receive from the software companies for keeping the system requirement alive as long as possible. The companies responsible for the required certificate/security plugins get paid from the corporate users (banks/onlin shopping malls) and in turn, pay the kickback to the politicians. It's a dirty secret not many people are aware of.

Maybe everyone there does use FF/Chrome and just sets their UA as IE, and Statcounter is tricked into thinking they are actually using IE just like the online stores think.