When ActiveX Went Wrong
Like many kinds of technology, Active X was originally created for benign purposes. Active X is Microsoft’s web technology that notifies you about necessary updates and also aids a system in running flash animation. In short, ActiveX allows sites to install and run programs on the computer system.
Spyware also has a goal of installing and running programs, albeit malicious programs. Hackers have begun using ActiveX as a vehicle to spread spyware all over the World Wide Web. Now Active X is one of the most pervasive technologies used to install spyware on computers that utilize Internet Explorer.
The Big Deal About Spyware
Nowadays pretty much everyone gets spyware. So, you may ask, what’s the big deal? Spyware can have a number of harmful effects on both you and your computer. Here are the most common:
* A slow computer. Many PC users assume a slowed down system signifies an old computer or depleted memory space. It turns out that many of these computers are actually infected with spyware. A simple cleaning of Active X based spyware with antispyware software would solve the problem.
* Incessant popups. Popups are incredibly annoying. When they reach a certain level, they can render a computer virtually useless. These popups usually come from a type of spyware called adware. Adware is downloaded in conjunction with useful programs, many times without the knowledge of the owner. Adware then tracks your Internet habits and send you a barrage of popup advertisements for products closely related to what you’ve been looking at online.
* A hijacked system. Browser hijackers can take complete control of your computer by changing your settings and interrupting Internet browsing. These hijackers can change everything from your homepage to your desktop icons.
* Identity theft. This is by far the most serious issue related to Active X based spyware. Keyloggers, the worst type of spyware, can run in the background of your system, recording your every keystroke. These keyloggers gather all sorts of data: emails, passwords, bank account numbers, and other personal information. Once the information is sent back to the hacker it can be used to steal your identity.
Dealing With Active X Based Spyware
There are several simple precautions your can make to avoid the spyware installed by Active X. Since it could mean the difference between protecting your personal information and having your identity stolen, it is wise to take these steps.
* One option is to disable Active X on Internet Explorer. The downside of doing this is that it won’t allow you to view some sites. You can, however, list these sites as “trusted” so it isn’t impossible to view them.
* To avoid ActiveX based spyware altogether you can switch from Internet Explorer to a different browser. Mozilla Firefox has become a popular alternative to Internet Explorer. Since ActiveX is only compatible with Microsoft programs, an alternative browser will help you avoid it.
* Install antispyware software. This is probably to best thing you can do when it comes to fighting spyware invasions. Antispyware software will help you to detect and get rid of current spyware, as well as prevent new spyware from finding its way into your system.
At its root, the ActiveX technology is an incredibly useful tool. Unfortunately, the technology is abused by hackers in order to be used for malicious purposes. By taking the above steps, you are creating a strong insurance policy for your computer and your personal information.