South Korea takes another step to ActiveX liberation

The Korea Trade Network's development of an ActiveX-free authentication certification program may be the most concrete sign yet of South Korea finally dislodging itself from Internet Explorer.

The Korea Trade Network (KTNET), an IT affiliate of the country's international trade agency, said on Monday that it has developed an ActiveX-free authentication certification program.

So far, the new ActiveX-free system applies only to B2B transactions among import-export companies and affiliated trade agency members companies, but it's the clearest sign yet that South Korea is serious about extricating itself from the universally derided Microsoft web browser.

South Koreans have been required to use the ActiveX controls to conduct almost any online financial transaction, and more than 90 percent of online shopping sites require the digital "proof" of identity.

Microsoft developed the plug-in in 1996, and South Korean government soon mandated everyone to use an ActiveX authentication certificate program -- and, therefore Internet Explorer -- ironically to facilitate ecommerce security for online shoppers. It has since become a cybersecurity headache.

KTNET says its new authentication certificate program will work with many web browsers, including Firefox, Chrome, as well as Windows 10's updated Edge browser.

That would likely be welcome news for people eager to liberate themselves from Internet Explorer, as well as ActiveX. Some 67.86 percent of South Koreans currently use IE, 27.33 percent use Chrome, and just a smattering of others use Firefox and Safari, according to Statcounter.