Internet Explorer’s market share in Korea is on the decline due to concerns over information security risks. At the same time, other browsers such as Chrome and Swing are benefiting from the trend. Swing, a domestically-developed browser, is about to surpass the two million downloads mark.
According to market research firm Statcounter, Internet Explorer’s share in Korea fell from 82.97 percent in February 2012 to 79.77 percent in January this year, and then to 74.43 percent last month. The percentages were 78.74 percent and 76.12 percent in February and March this year, respectively. The decline can be attributed to Microsoft’s termination of support for Windows XP as of late and the possibility of resultant security threats.
In addition, the Park Geun-hye administration, which is in aggressive pursuit of deregulation these days, mentioned back in March the problems associated with the public key certificate system including the overseas sale of Korean-made products. When the certificate is to be used on a local website, Active X, which is a type of IE plug-in, has to be installed. Such dependence has resulted in the inconvenience of overseas users and an increasing possibility of malware intrusions.
In the meantime, security firm Fireeye announced on April 28 that it found a new type of zero-day attack taking advantage of the vulnerabilities of IE 6.0 to 11.0. The Korea Internet & Security Agency (KISA) and the Computer Emergency Response Team (CERT), along with various governments, have called on users to avoid Internet Explorer.
Microsoft distributed a patch against the new vulnerabilities on May 1, guiding users to update their systems. However, KISA advised by saying, “The technical support and security update for Windows XP have been stopped since April 8, and thus users would be well advised to use Web browsers other than Internet Explorer.”
Google Chrome’s local market share increased from 17.87 percent to 18.70 percent between the first two months of this year. It rose to 20.86 percent in March and reached 22.36 percent in the following month, which was the highest since the 24.62 percent of June last year.
A Korean company has joined the battle as well to compete with foreign products like Apple’s Safari and Mozilla Firefox. Zum Internet, a subsidiary of EastSoft, released the Swing browser on December 9, 2013.
In six months on the market Swing recorded 1.7 million downloads, and the number is expected to exceed two million this month. According to market research firm Korean Click, the number of net Swing users was 704,656 as of the end of March this year.
“Swing is a high-speed browser using a dual engine combining Web kit with the Trident engine, providing useful tools such as Quick Send and collaborating with our parent companies specializing in vaccines, which means it can deal with various security problems breaking out in Korea in the most swift and appropriate way,” Zum Internet explained.