It was the end of an era when Microsoft finally put Internet Explorer to pasture last week. After 11 versions and nearly 27 years, the tech giant pulled the plug on the internet browser in favor of Microsoft Edge.
Internet Explorer was the default web browser for millions throughout the late ’90s and peaked around 2003. Then Google’s Chrome came along in 2008 and slowly but surely chipped away until it became the market leader.
It goes without saying, but we’ll say it anyway: If you’re still using Internet Explorer, stop. It’s just not safe. Tap or click here for our top browser picks if privacy is on your mind.
It’s not just IE you should avoid. Read on for 10 more outdated devices and programs you should avoid.
Before we get to the list, a note about IE
As of June 15, 2022, Internet Explorer is officially retired. That means you can no longer download the browser, Microsoft won’t release updates for it and you really should move on to a different browser.
In its retirement blog, Microsoft explains what we all know: The browser simply couldn’t keep up with the constant changes in how the internet works. Microsoft’s replacement is, of course, Microsoft Edge. It’s built on Chromium, the same back-end as Google Chrome, and is designed to perform well on a PC.
We trust that you’re saying goodbye to Internet Explorer — or that you did long ago — but there are more gadgets out there that you should replace. Any internet-connected device that hasn’t been updated in the last 12 months can seriously compromise your personal information. If you have any of the tech or gadgets below still lying around, it’s time to say goodbye.
1. First-generation Amazon Echo
As technology improves, so do the skills of hackers. Unfortunately, older smart devices just can’t handle the software upgrades to make them more secure. The first Amazon Echo smart speaker is a good example of that. Hackers can take control of them by exploiting a pre-existing vulnerability, a recent study shows. We’re talking about the tall cylindrical model that came in white and black. If you have one, stop using it.
Want to replace your old Echo? The fourth-generation Echo Dot is a solid smart speaker upgrade for around $50 at full price. Sometimes you can catch it on sale for much less.
2. Google Nest’s Hello video doorbell
An early version of the popular video doorbell from Google isn’t safe to use. A study found that hackers can easily launch a Denial of Service attack and disable the recording function. Yikes. Just picture what this means: With the right know-how, someone could stop your camera from recording while you’re away and waltz right in through the front door without you knowing it.
Need a replacement? Tap or click for five secure options for keeping an eye on the front porch.
3. Amazon’s Cloud Cam security camera
If you have an Amazon Cloud Cam, it’s time to start shopping. The camera is no longer for sale and after Dec. 2, 2022, all recordings will be deleted and the Amazon cameras will no longer function. Why? Amazon is focusing on its Ring and Blink home security brands.
When it comes to home security, Kim’s pick is SimpiSafe. You can buy everything you need online and easily set it all up yourself, no drill or handyman required. Even better, if you shop now you can get a free security camera, 20% off your order and your first month free when you sign up for Interactive Monitoring.
4. Wemo Insight smart plug
In the same study as the Google Nest Hello, researchers were able to breach this smart plug’s security. What’s the big deal, you ask? It’s not just about the plug itself — it means hackers can take complete control of a device that connects to it, including any unsecured video and audio recording capabilities.
Here are some of our favorite smart plugs (scroll to the bottom of the article), along with a few clever uses beyond just turning the lights on and off.
Remember: Never use an indoor smart plug outdoors. You need one rated for use in all kinds of weather or you’re asking for trouble. Tap or click for an outdoor plug option that ticks all the boxes.
5. First-generation WyzeCam security camera
Wyze Labs ended all support for its first-generation WyzeCam security camera in February. The camera was first released in 2017 and it only cost around $20. We’re willing to bet these affordable cameras ended up in a lot of homes.
Now, Wyze Labs “discourages its use” as there are no more security updates. When it comes to security monitoring, don’t take chances.
6. Your old router
Just because something works doesn’t mean you should continue using it. Take your router, for example. Sure, it could be functioning just fine when it comes to your home’s internet connection, but how secure is it?
The latest security standard is WPA-3, released in 2018. If you’re still using a router that uses WPA-2 encryption, it’s time to switch. A nice bonus: Most new routers support Wi-Fi 6. Your devices may not use it yet, but they will soon. Think of this as future-proofing.
Not sure where to start when it comes to router shopping? We can help. Take this 60-second quiz to find the right model based on your home and needs.
7. Your old cellphone
That ancient (in tech years) iPhone 5 can still make calls, but it’s not very good at protecting your data. When Apple rolled out iOS 15, it cut support for iPhone 5 and older models. Without the latest operating system, your phone is vulnerable to any new hack, bug or vulnerability.
Even more bad news: When iOS 16 is released this fall, more phones will land on the chopping block. The update is for iPhone 8 and later. Sorry if you have the first-generation SE, 6S, 6S Plus, 7 or 7 Plus.
Apple’s not the only one cutting off support for older phones. Google’s Pixel 4 and Pixel 4XL will lose access to new updates come October.
No matter what kind of phone you have, an easy way to check how long it’s going to be supported is a quick Google search. Type in your phone’s name along with “security support” to see how long you’ll get new features and security patches.
8. Outdated surge protectors
Some devices work well beyond their intended shelf-life. Count surge protectors and outlet extenders among them. Over the years, the amount of power they can handle drops and that can pose a fire risk if you have too much plugged in. Malfunctioning surge protectors can also ruin your gadgets if there’s a power spike.
It’s time to replace those old metal surge protectors or any with a coax connection. They’re just too old. A good rule of thumb is to swap out surge protectors every five years or so. If you notice even one burned-out plug, toss out the entire thing.
If you’re looking to upgrade, we put together a guide to the best surge protectors and outlet extenders, starting under $20.
9. That old hard drive
Think about everything stored on your computer’s hard drive. You probably have years of files, photos, videos, you name it. If you still use a spinning disk for storage, there’s a good chance that it’s approaching its end of life. You should do two things:
- Transfer your data over to a new solid-state drive while you still can.
- Make a digital backup of everything. Kim’s pick for safe, secure cloud storage is IDrive. Save 50% now on 5 TB of storage. You can access your files from any device.
10. Your old cordless phone
Unless you work in a museum for technology antiquities, it’s time to give up your old cordless phones that run on the 2.4GHz or 5.8GHzx bands. They are notorious for causing interference with Wi-Fi signals. If your internet is acting up, this could be the culprit. Try upgrading to a phone that runs on the 1.9GHz band instead.
Adjust these settings on the Google Nest Hello video doorbell
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