Microsoft is killing off this Windows feature to stop it being hijacked for malware delivery

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If you’re a fan of VBScript, we have some bad news, as Microsoft has announced that future releases of Windows won’t feature the scripting language, which will now only be available on demand. 

"VBScript is being deprecated," Microsoft said in an update post. "In future releases of Windows, VBScript will be available as a feature on demand before its removal from the operating system.”

VBScript, or Visual Basic Scripting Language, was first released in 1996, and was mostly used for task automation. Its latest version, released back in 2010, is 5.8, but it struggled against a more powerful competitor PowerShell, released in 2006.

Malware vector

"Microsoft Visual Basic Scripting Edition brings active scripting to a wide variety of environments, including Web client scripting in Microsoft Internet Explorer and Web server scripting in Microsoft Internet Information Service," Microsoft describes the tool.

However, other browser makers never warmed up to VBScript, with web devs usually leaning towards JavaScript for client-side tasks. The news is not out of the blue, either, as Microsoft deprecated VBScript in its iconic Internet Explorer (IE) platform severn years ago, before disabling it two years later and retiring the entire browser in 2022. 

While being shoved into irrelevancy by more powerful competitors might be one of the reasons for the sunsetting of the language, security concerns could be another. 

Microsoft didn’t specifically say so, but BleepingComputer speculates VBScript was a “prevalent infection vector employed by threat actors to infect Windows systems with malicious payloads.” The Register seems to agree with this assessment, as well, saying Microsoft's planned discontinuation of VBScript “may be in part motivated by security concerns, given that VBScript can be a malware vector”.

Via The Register

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Sead is a seasoned freelance journalist based in Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina. He writes about IT (cloud, IoT, 5G, VPN) and cybersecurity (ransomware, data breaches, laws and regulations). In his career, spanning more than a decade, he’s written for numerous media outlets, including Al Jazeera Balkans. He’s also held several modules on content writing for Represent Communications.