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Active X... Is it needed? Is it best removed?

by gerri / December 20, 2005 1:14 AM PST

Is Active X really necessary? I happened to activate ACTIVE X yesterday when I was downloading something. Prior to this, I had those red x's and and most of the ads were blocked.

I read and heard it is best not to have this function because it allows more spyware and ads.

Is this true?


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For me, a non-issue. Why?
by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / December 20, 2005 1:17 AM PST

I use Mozilla and Firefox most of the time. IE for that rare site.


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Ads tracking information
by gerri / December 20, 2005 1:22 AM PST

I use IE....and I have read that it is best not to activate ACTIVE X because of the ads placing tracking information and increases chances of virusus, etc.

Is this true?


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I use Firefox...
by Blue_Zee / December 20, 2005 1:42 AM PST
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Active X - and Firefox...IE
by gerri / December 20, 2005 2:46 AM PST
In reply to: I use Firefox...

I can see that most of you seem to use Active X, but can someone PLEASE help me with MY question...since I am a bit of a novice.

Here is the story, I downloaded Java yesterday FROM the TrendMicro yesterday, when I was downloading Panda and Housecall..I've used Panda and Housecall before but never downloaded Active X that I can recall

Now I have Active X and Java. Is this one in the same? Can I remove it all? When I tried to remove it in the Add/Remove programs file, it says it needs to be upgraded...which I don't want to do. I need to get rid of it. I see no use for it - but correct me if I am wrong.


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To answer your questions...
by John.Wilkinson / December 21, 2005 11:30 AM PST

Here are the answers to your questions, as well as some information I think you'll find valuable. Just get comfortable and reread at will.

* Yes, ActiveX is a commonly used as a way to breach a system, as it's not well protected. The fact that Firefox does not support ActiveX is one of the reasons the alternative browser is said to be more secure.

* ActiveX is not needed for most pages, but is for some, particularly those from Microsoft. Windows Update and Microsoft Office Update both require ActiveX to be enabled, as do some online security scanners.

* You didn't download ActiveX, as it's included in internet Explorer. What you actually downloaded as an ActiveX control, which was placed in the directory ''C:\WINDOWS\Downloaded Program Files''.

* ActiveX isn't the prime method os placing ads and obtaining tracking information from your computer. The main source of that is cookies, with a focus on Tracking Cookies.

* ActiveX and Java are two completely different technologies. While ActiveX is not often used and known as a possible security risk, Java is widely used in websites and poses very little security risk as long as you keep your computer properly updated.

* You cannot remove ActiveX, although you can disable it. To do so, open Internet Explorer, go tools->internet options, select the ''security'' tab, click ''custom level,'' and scroll down to the part about ActiveX. To completely disable ActiveX just mark ''disable'' for each subcategory. While this offers the best protection, it also requires you to enable ActiveX before visiting a site that requires it, such as Windows Updates. Thus, I'd suggest the following:
1.) Automatic prompting: enable
2.) Binary and script behaviors: disable
3.) Download signed ActiveX controls: prompt
4.) Download unsigned ActiveX controls: disable
5.) Initialize and script...: disable
6.) Run ActiveX controls and plusing: prompt
7.) Scripts ActiveX controls marked safe for scripting: prompt

* Java can be removed, but I'd recommend leaving it installed as a lot of sites require it in order to display graphics properly.

* For a little more protection, I recommend installing the free program Spyware Blaster, which will block a large list of known-nasty ActiveX controls, cookies, and websites from ever being loaded on your computer. It does not run in the background, so it does not use system resources, but it doesn't automatically update either, so you need to check for updates once a month or so.

* When it comes to tracking and ad-serving cookies, Internet Explorer simply does not provide any protection. While not all are bad (most sites use some form of advertising, including Cnet), they can be used to collect personal information and bombard you with a never-ending stream of pop-ups. Spyware Blaster will block some of the most common ones, but many will still get through. Thus, I recommend the free program AdAware, which is one of the best at finding and removing adware and tracking cookies. You'll want to run that at least once a week.

* You may want to consider switching to Firefox as your primary browser, which is much more secure by default, and can be customized to protect you from a host of nasties. You'll still need Internet Explorer for somes sites, but you should notice an immediate impact with Firefox as your primary browser.

Hope this helps,

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Answers !! :)
by gerri / December 21, 2005 2:05 PM PST


Thank you so VERY much for the detailed answers to my questions. You answered them all and I now have a much better understanding of each application.

I already have the Spyware Blaster, Spybot,and AdAware and I keep them updated and run them often.

I tried Firefox when it became available, but I had heard there were some problems at that time , and being a creature of habit I switched back to IE. I will definitely go with Firefox based on your recommendation and the those of others.

It's really comforting to know I can come here and get answers. Everyone here is always helpful.

Thanks again, John

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Facebook isn't working on Mozilla
by itzabit / October 13, 2009 10:18 AM PDT

My facebook looks like a code. i am on a compact computer, amd turion 64 graphics by vidia windows xp. Can anyone help. i tried to download active x but mozilla doesn't accept it. I tried ie also and the same happens. What is wrong???? i am a newbe Thanks thanks

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Try a Windows XP or Newbie forum.
by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / October 13, 2009 9:30 PM PDT
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