South Koreans Are Stuck With Internet Explorer Thanks To An Outdated Security Law

South Koreans Are Stuck With Internet Explorer Thanks To An Outdated Security Law

PAUL SZOLDRA NOV. 9, 2013, 4:51 PM 5,723 4

South Korea is a technology powerhouse with nationwide broadband and electronics companies pumping out tons of cool products, but some lawmakers are trying to change a 14-year-old law that has them hanging on to Internet Explorer as the web browser of choice, The Washington Post reported earlier this week. In the name of security, a law was passed in 1999 requiring citizens to use IE exclusively for shopping and banking. The government created “digital certificates” for citizens with their personal information shared with stores using ActiveX — a plugin created by Microsoft. If they can make the change in the law, users may finally be able to use Firefox or Chrome more frequently.From WaPo:

Few South Korean computer users are campaigning to keep the current system. The greater obstacle comes from the government, and from the major banks and credit card companies that have followed its path.

When Aladin, Korea’s fourth-largest online bookseller, tried this year to institute a system similar to PayPal’s, a slew of domestic credit card companies rejected the payments. Chung Tae-young, the chief executive of Hyundai Card, wrote on Twitter that Aladin’s system “wasn’t safe.”

Koreans can use other browsers for general surfing, but when they go to an eCommerce website, they’ll get a message telling them they need to use IE. That poses even more problems for Apple users, for which IE isn’t available.

“We are behind the times, clinging to the old method,” said Rep. Lee Jong-gul of the main opposition Democratic Party, according to Business Korea.

IE, which still holds nearly 60% market share, has been known in the past for its many bugs and crashes. However, Microsoft claims their latest version 11 is a big improvement and runs 30% faster than other browsers.

Ironically, ActiveX controls can still allow hackers to damage computers if a user visits a malicious website and allows the software to be installed.

About bambooinnovator
Kee Koon Boon (“KB”) is the co-founder and director of HERO Investment Management which provides specialized fund management and investment advisory services to the ARCHEA Asia HERO Innovators Fund (, the only Asian SMID-cap tech-focused fund in the industry. KB is an internationally featured investor rooted in the principles of value investing for over a decade as a fund manager and analyst in the Asian capital markets who started his career at a boutique hedge fund in Singapore where he was with the firm since 2002 and was also part of the core investment committee in significantly outperforming the index in the 10-year-plus-old flagship Asian fund. He was also the portfolio manager for Asia-Pacific equities at Korea’s largest mutual fund company. Prior to setting up the H.E.R.O. Innovators Fund, KB was the Chief Investment Officer & CEO of a Singapore Registered Fund Management Company (RFMC) where he is responsible for listed Asian equity investments. KB had taught accounting at the Singapore Management University (SMU) as a faculty member and also pioneered the 15-week course on Accounting Fraud in Asia as an official module at SMU. KB remains grateful and honored to be invited by Singapore’s financial regulator Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) to present to their top management team about implementing a world’s first fact-based forward-looking fraud detection framework to bring about benefits for the capital markets in Singapore and for the public and investment community. KB also served the community in sharing his insights in writing articles about value investing and corporate governance in the media that include Business Times, Straits Times, Jakarta Post, Manual of Ideas, Investopedia, TedXWallStreet. He had also presented in top investment, banking and finance conferences in America, Italy, Sydney, Cape Town, HK, China. He has trained CEOs, entrepreneurs, CFOs, management executives in business strategy & business model innovation in Singapore, HK and China.

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