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Use of Active X in local governments

By Kang Min Seong, a student at Chung Ang University. Thank you for sharing this with us.

 

Translated by Jiyoung Shin


 


  Ahn Cheol-soo, a former presidential candidate, suggested the “abolition of government initiated authentication certificates” as one of his election pledges in the field of Information and Technology. Its main issue is the abolition of the Active X authentication system and allowance of industries’ autonomy in selecting the types of authentication and security programs.

 

  Due to Ahn, other issues related to Active X have been brought forth to the surface. After requesting relevant information, it was found that still a high number of local governments websites is using Active X.

 

  Active X is a library that Microsoft (MS) established in order to expand their Internet Explorer (IE). This technology enables to install programs that can be operated in the browser using web-browser. However, since the installed program has access to every resource within the system and can even update system files, it has a high potential of bringing in various types of viruses and backdoors. MS has stopped supporting this system due to increasing complaints about its inconvenience and danger.

 

  Although Korea has a reputation as an IT power house, the domestic web environment seems to be regressing from the global standard. Currently, Chrome, a new web-browser of Google is encroaching on the global market and other web-browsers such as Safari and Firefox are also increasing their market shares in the world. Even MS has long been neglecting the IE’s library, Active X. Of course, the number of IE users in Korea is also on decrease. But still the majority of websites are established for IE.

 

  Korea Communications Commission (KCC) and the Ministry of Public Administration and Security (MOPAS) enacted (second amendment) <E-government Compatibility Guideline> to enhance the competitiveness of web service and internet users’ convenience. Ensuring the compatibility of web browsers is clearly stated there.

 

  The article 4 of the guideline states that “when there is no restriction on technologies, the service should be equally provided on more than 3 different types of web browsers”. However, the service is not compatible with other web browsers when Active X, which is only provided by IE, is used in establishing, improving and operating websites.

 

  Websites of local governments also showed a rather high rate of Active X usage. After requesting information concerning internet browsers when using websites (Institutions that are not available –partly or entirely- without installing Active X), the majority of the institutions showed a lack of related information. In addition, some websites that have limited access with browsers other than IE were marked as “entirely available”. (There were some institutions that only started offering explanations when I pointed out the limited access to the content.) Having requested the information to 16 institutions (Seoul, 6 Metropolitan cities, 9 provinces), only 5 (Seoul, Gyeonggi, Daejeon, Busan, Jeju) provided the information including the websites of their affiliated organizations. Below you can find whether these five institutions use Active X or not and their usage rate.

 

□ Use of Active X among 5 Local governments including their affiliated organizations


Seoul

Gyeonggi

Daejeon

Busan

Jeju

Without Active X  -Websites partly/entirely not available

15

60

3

3

2

Without Active X – Websites Available

19

159

7

55

8

Total

34

219

10

58

10

 

 

□ Use of Active X among local governments that partly provided information

 

Gangwon

Gyeongsang

buk-do

Chungcheong

nam-do

Incheon-si

Bupyeong-gu

Incheon-si Ganghwa-gun

Incheon-si Gyeyang-gu

Problem

Zoom in/ out not available with Chrome,

Firefox

(Inc. Cyber Gangwon Tourism)

I-Life information service

 

Web-Gis

3D living space information system

Menus for reservation

- Venue rental application,

Tennis court application

Limited access  in 7 of 22 affiliated organizations

Reservation and application

 

Is Active X really necessary?

 

  One thing to notice is whether Active X is really effective for the security and authentication. According to the “Internet browser user survey” by OPENWEB, 1 out of 2 people experienced computer viruses after installing Active X. Furthermore, more than 70% of the respondents replied that they are concerned about the virus infection from Active X.

 

  Active X has a high potential to be used as a pathway to distribute malignant code. Due to this, KCC recommends not to use it. However, under the current domestic web environment, the websites of local governments and their affiliated organizations, online payment and banking are heavily restricted without installing Active X. Below you can find the related information.


강민성,20082909,01042885022_정보공개청구_자료.zip


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