Gosh, isn't it sort of mean to make Grandpa buy a new computer? This one's only ten years old...

When we build a credit union web site, we get a lot of security questions related to compatibility with older browsers. Depending on who you ask and what numbers you believe, somewhere between 2% to 8% of the general public is still using very old versions of Microsoft Internet Explorer.

Naturally, credit unions don’t want to leave anyone out. And gosh, isn’t it sort of mean to make Grandpa buy a new computer? This one’s only ten years old…

The problem is that this concern is grasping the wrong end of the wrong problem.

If someone visiting your credit union web site is using a ten year old browser, they have far more serious problems than whether your web site looks funny.

Old computers run a very high risk of serious issues with malware — there is simply no way to adequately secure older browsers and old versions of Windows (other than disconnecting them from the internet). It’s quite likely people with old computers already have several assorted pieces of malware (adware, spyware, ransomware, etc.) active in their systems. Do you really want someone logging in to your online banking system with a keylogger peering over their shoulder?

And the risks these folks are taking are not limited to their credit union accounts — every time they log in to another site, make a purchase, pay a bill, or send an email from an unsecured system, they could be exposing sensitive personal information. The problem is basic security and safety.

The good news is that credit unions are in a unique position to take action and help their members stay safe.

There are lots of ways credit unions could take a more active role in online safety and security for their members.

1) Detect, Divert, and Explain
Add code to your web site to detect users with ancient browsers and divert them to a page explaining that the browser they are using is not safe. Consider excluding insecure browsers from your online banking systems with a similar message.
2) Provide Basic Content
You can still provide the most-needed content to these users — a simple page with your phone number, locations and hours, routing number, and other commonly needed info. In other words, provide the things they’re most likely to need so the site is still somewhat useful.
3) Offer Assistance
What if you offered some sort of upgrade assistance or incentive to members running old browsers? A halfway decent laptop is under $300 these days — what if you offered members a computer upgrade loan package or credit card? Perhaps you could team up with a local computer shop to offer discounts on computers and support services. Or perhaps work with a local school’s computer science club to help people upgrade and secure their computers.