What exactly is Active X?

So in windows update when I check out what each update is about some of them mentions something about updating Active X. What exactly is it? I assume it’s probably something for IE? Suppose I don’t use IE do I really need those updates?

“ActiveX is a Microsoft-created technology that enables different software applications to share information and functionality. ActiveX only works with Microsoft applications like Word, Excel, Internet Explorer and PowerPoint, and will only work on a computer running the Windows operating system…The idea behind ActiveX is that software applications don’t need to be built from scratch…many of the same functions could be shared among different applications. For example, a spell checker is just as useful in a word processing program like Word as in an e-mail application like Outlook Express.”

The problem with ActiveX is that its flexibility and integration between all applications make it dangerous in some scenarios. Malware can disguised itself as an ActiveX control.

In Windows update I’m guessing you’re seeing something called “ActiveX Killbits for Windows/IE”. This is basically a Windows registry patch which prevents an ActiveX control from running in Internet Explorer by setting the “kill bit” so that the control is never called by Internet Explorer when default settings are used.

Even if you don’t use IE, it’s good to be up to date because many updaters for example use Internet Explorer.

Well I just learned something new here. Thanks for the information I had no idea just how broad this is.

No problem. :slight_smile:

I got another question. Sometime last week (I think it was last Friday) when I used windows update it said that in order to continue I had to install an active x addon; so is this ok? I was using IE8 and after I allowed it to be installed I was able to use windows update with no problems. But I found this weird.

Windows and Microsoft Update both use an Active X control that is updated from time to time. The updates always require you to download and install the latest version of the control. It’s nothing to worry about.

What’s the defense that a free product like SpywareBlaster gives? How does it work? :-TU

Prevent the installation of ActiveX-based spyware and other potentially unwanted programs