The government does not plan to upgrade from the Internet Explorer 6 (IE6) web browser to the more secure Internet Explorer 8 (IE8).
It said this in response an e-petition which made the request "to encourage government departments to upgrade away from IE6."
The Cabinet Office cited time and cost as the inhibitors to such a web browser upgrade.
"Upgrading these systems to IE8 can be a very large operation. To test all the web applications currently used by HMG departments can take months at significant potential cost to the taxpayer," said the Cabinet Office.
The Cabinet Office response ended with its view that it was more cost effective to continue using IE6 and rely on other measures to secure the browser.
Firewalls and malware-scanning software were given as the other measures "to further protect public sector internet users".
The e-petition was submitted by Dan Frydman of Inigo Media Ltd. He pointed out that the German and French governments advised their citizens that "an upgrade will keep them safer online."
In early July Danny Alexander, chief secretary to the Treasury, gave government departments three weeks’ notice to submit plans on how a 40 per cent budget cut could be applied to their departments over four years.
Faced with cuts that large, government departments may have to balance cost savings with the potential security risks of not upgrading IE6.