News
News
4/11/2006
01:35 PM
Connect Directly
RSS
E-Mail
50%
50%

IE Changes Due: What You Can Expect

Microsoft will release a security update for Internet Explorer that will also change how users interact with Web sites.

Microsoft Corp. will release Tuesday a security update for Internet Explorer that will also change how users interact with Web sites.

Some sites that rely on popular ActiveX controls, such as Apple's QuickTime, RealNetworks' RealPlayer, and Adobe's Flash and Acrobat, are likely to give users fits.

The change, which Microsoft has been warning Web site developers about since December 2005, was made to abide by a ruling in a patent infringement lawsuit Microsoft lost in 2003 to the University of California and its startup, Eolas Technologies Inc.

With the changes rolled out in a mandatory security fix, any IE user who downloads and installs Tuesday's security patches -- either manually or via an automated system such as Microsoft Update -- will likely need to modify how they use those sites which haven't been rewritten.

What should users expect?

--- By default, IE will now consider embedded ActiveX content as inactive. Thus on unmodified sites, ActiveX content will not run. In other words, music won't play or a Flash component won't launch.

--- To activate an interactive ActiveX control, move the mouse over the content -- which now will be boxed -- and click on the pop-up tool tip dialog.

--- Alternately, users can press the Tab key until the focus is set on the content's box, then press either the spacebar or Enter key to activate.

--- Each control on each page must be manually activated in this way.

Adobe has posted a short Flash-based demo that shows the activation process. (Ironic note: If you're using IE after the Tuesday update has been applied, you must active the Flash demo manually.)

Microsoft has acknowledged that not all Web site developers will have modified their pages to account for IE's new behavior -- the easiest way for developers to sidestep user activation is to call the ActiveX controls via JavaScript -- and so will also release a patch on Tuesday to delay the changes.

"We will create a “compatibility patch” (deployed like a hotfix) that allows customers to turn off the change for a limited period of time through the June update cycle (2nd Tuesday in June)," wrote Mike Nash, Microsoft's head of security, in a blog posting last month.

The patch will put off the activation requirements until June 13.

"[This is] to provide time for enterprise customers to resolve compatibility issues," added Nash.

Comment  | 
Print  | 
More Insights
The Business of Going Digital
The Business of Going Digital
Digital business isn't about changing code; it's about changing what legacy sales, distribution, customer service, and product groups do in the new digital age. It's about bringing big data analytics, mobile, social, marketing automation, cloud computing, and the app economy together to launch new products and services. We're seeing new titles in this digital revolution, new responsibilities, new business models, and major shifts in technology spending.
Register for InformationWeek Newsletters
White Papers
Current Issue
InformationWeek Tech Digest - July 22, 2014
Sophisticated attacks demand real-time risk management and continuous monitoring. Here's how federal agencies are meeting that challenge.
Flash Poll
Video
Slideshows
Twitter Feed
InformationWeek Radio
Live Streaming Video
Everything You've Been Told About Mobility Is Wrong
Attend this video symposium with Sean Wisdom, Global Director of Mobility Solutions, and learn about how you can harness powerful new products to mobilize your business potential.