Report: Internet Explorer 9 to add ActiveX filtering

A new security feature that will let users pick and choose which ActiveX controls can load is said to be included in a future version of IE9.

Josh Lowensohn Former Senior Writer
Josh Lowensohn joined CNET in 2006 and now covers Apple. Before that, Josh wrote about everything from new Web start-ups, to remote-controlled robots that watch your house. Prior to joining CNET, Josh covered breaking video game news, as well as reviewing game software. His current console favorite is the Xbox 360.
Josh Lowensohn
2 min read

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The upcoming release candidate of Microsoft's Internet Explorer 9 browser is said to include a new feature that will let users selectively pick which parts of Web pages can load ActiveX elements.

According to blog WinRumors, which is citing its own sources, the security-focused feature will be included inside the first release candidate for IE9, which is expected to arrive later this month. The filter will come in the form of a toggle that sits alongside the recently announced tracking protection feature--the one that blocks third-parties from tracking user behavior from site to site. Together, the two features would give users more control over what can be done by individual pieces of the page.

When asked about the arrival of the feature, Microsoft declined to comment beyond saying, "Microsoft has not released this Internet Explorer 9 code to the public and we caution consumers and businesses that downloading software (including workarounds) from a non-genuine source can pose risks to their environment."

ActiveX has had a long history as an integral part of Internet Explorer. Since its introduction in the mid-'90s, the technology played an important part in giving site makers ways to build increasingly interactive Web applications. But at the same time, ActiveX also became a means for sites and individuals to run exploits and other malicious code through the browser. Microsoft responded by beefing up IE's default security settings for ActiveX content, requiring user approval to run plug-ins, and implementing a blacklist to keep known malicious controls from loading. If implemented, this security feature would be another layer on top of these protective measures.

IE9 has been in beta since mid-September of last year, and has proven to be a popular download among users, with the most recently released numbers pegging downloads north of 20 million.