Monday, March 24, 2014

Microsoft Active-X issue in Korea Near Resolution?

President Park Geun-hye held a deregulation forum last week at the Blue House and, not surprisingly, one of the hot topics was the continued requirement by many e-commerce sites and financial institutions that users download and install Microsoft Active-X controls to complete their online transactions.  South Korea's heavy reliance on Microsoft software is the subject of many earlier posts on this blog, so the discussions at the deregulation forum obviously caught my eye.
The Korea Joongang Daily carried an informative report today that, among other things, reported the results of a nationwide poll conducted by the Federation of Korean Industries. 78.6 percent of the respondents in the poll wanted the use of Active-X to be discontinued, while only 6.7 percent opposed the idea.  As shown in the accompanying graphic, when asked whether Korea needs another program, over 80 percent said it was "necessary" or "very necessary."
Active-X was designed by Microsoft many years ago, without any real consideration of today's security concerns.   Consequently, Microsoft itself acknowledged the problem years ago and its own web site contains quite a detailed explanation of the security problems Active-X can pose.
The FKI poll also reported some interesting data that shows Active-X interferes most of all with the consumer experience of online shopping and online banking, but is also viewed as a source of "discomfort" in other transactions.  The second graphic gives a breakdown of responses.
According to the  Korea Joongang Daily article,"Choi Moon-ki, the minister of science, ICT and future planning, said in the ministry’s workshop on Saturday that it will provide an online environment and online authentication certificate without ActiveX. The ministry is expected to work closely with the Financial Supervisory Service and Financial Services Commission to find solution for ActiveX problem."

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