Why Korea has an ActiveX problem

Posted on Tuesday, Mar 25 2014 @ 11:24 CET by Thomas De Maesschalck
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VR Zone has an interesting article about why the marketshare of Internet Explorer is sky high in South Korea. The reason why more than 75% of Koreans use Internet Explorer is because of an outdated law that requires you to authenticate yourself when you go online. Whenever you try to access a WiFi network in South Korea you're greeted by a login portal that requires you to enter your identity number (or passport number) and this system is linked to your biometrics. A similar process is used for e-commerce, this system that was invented in the late 1990s seems very safe but the big problem is that it runs entirely on ActiveX!
But now times have changed. Microsoft still supports ActiveX in Internet Explorer, but only as a legacy technology and actively discourages the use of the protocol. In fact, a recent security advisory put out by Microsoft says the API “can stop your computer from functioning correctly, collect your browsing habits and personal information without your knowledge, or can give you content, like pop-up ads that you don’t want.”

ActiveX is a Windows-only affair, so OSX, iOS and Android users aren’t able to participate in the South Korean e-commerce economy. In addition, Microsoft says that Internet Explorer ran in Metro mode (Modern UI) on Windows 8 won’t be able to support the antiquated API. Thus, Internet Explorer’s market share is the highest in the world in Korea with over three-quarters of users logging onto the web via the browser.
Fortunately, the Korean government has ordered the creation of an ActiveX-free solution but who knows how long that'll take.

About the Author

Thomas De Maesschalck

Thomas has been messing with computer since early childhood and firmly believes the Internet is the best thing since sliced bread. Enjoys playing with new tech, is fascinated by science, and passionate about financial markets. When not behind a computer, he can be found with running shoes on or lifting heavy weights in the weight room.

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