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Chapter 41. Security > Applets Versus ActiveX Controls

Applets Versus ActiveX Controls

The only serious competitor to Java applets is offered by Microsoft and is called ActiveX controls. ActiveX controls are an Internet version of an older standard, called OCX controls. These controls can be written inany language and can do anything that anyone can do in that language. No technical reason prevents an ActiveX programmer from writing a trojan horse that deletes every file on your hard drive or that copies confidential information back to the Internet. Microsoft has tried to address this problem by encouraging ActiveX developers to use their code-signing facility, making ActiveX controls proof against man-in-the-middle attacks.

Sun's approach, with Java, is different, with security checks built into the language itself. As you'll see, Sun also supports signed applets, which the end user may choose to trust.


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