ActiveX adapts Component Object Model and Object Linking and Embedding technologies of Microsoft for content downloaded from internet. Even though it is an independent component ActiveX controls need either Windows emulator or Microsoft Windows for its working. All Microsoft Windows applications such as Microsoft Office, Windows Media Player, Internet Explorer and Microsoft Visual Studio use ActiveX controls to encapsulate their own functionality because further these can be embedded into several other applications. Especially, Internet Explorer let the embedding of ActiveX controls in web pages. These ActiveX Controls are small programs, often referred to as add-ons being used on the internet, which can improve browsing speed by allowing animation.

Programmers create fresh ActiveX controls with C++, Visual Basic and other programming languages. Internet Explorer automatically downloads ActiveX control and executes it. Soon after downloading process, it becomes a part of OS. Let us consider an example, Internet Explorer can read PDF files with ActiveX control from Adobe but cannot read PDF files by its own and to display Flash, IE it requires a control. However, along with ActiveX there are some other security measures introduced by Microsoft for making browsing safer.

Examples are:

  • IE keeps a blacklist of bad controls
  • Cabinet files as well as executables (digital signing of installation packages)

Other ActiveX technologies are:

  • Active Messaging or Collaboration Data Objects
  • Active Server Pages
  • ActiveMovie or DirectShow
  • ActiveX Data Objects
  • Active Scripting, which is method for scripting ActiveX Objects

Security problems:

  • Cybercriminals develop their own ActiveX controls and damage PCs if users visit web pages containing malicious ActiveX software.
  • IE downloads lot of spyware and adware as ActiveX controls
  • Completely disabling the support for ActiveX by IE breaks important functions and blocking malware
  • Due to these problems, many users are moving from IE to unsupportable ActiveX browsers like Opera, Firefox and Netscape.
Safe and Secure
Safe and Secure