Microsoft plans to phase out VBScript in future versions of Windows after 30 years of use, making it an “on-demand” feature until it is removed.
VBScript (also known as Visual Basic Script or Microsoft Visual Basic Scripting Edition) is a programming language similar to Visual Basic or Visual Basic for Applications (VBA) that was introduced almost 30 years ago, in August 1996.
It comes bundled with the Internet Explorer browser (which has also been abandoned), provides integration of active scripts into the Windows environment, and interfaces with host applications via Windows Script.
“VBScript is becoming obsolete. In future releases of Windows, VBScript will be available as an on-demand feature up to and including its removal from the operating system,” the company said this week.
“Initially, VBScript features will be pre-installed to ensure seamless use while you prepare for VBScript’s demise.”
On-demand features are additional Windows operating system features, such as the .NET Framework (.NetFx3), Hyper-V and Windows Subsystem for Linux, that are not installed by default but can be added when needed.
In the July 2019 Patch Tuesday cumulative updates, Microsoft also disabled VBScript by default in Internet Explorer 11 on Windows 10.
While Microsoft’s decision to drop VBScript isn’t officially explained, it’s likely related to an earlier rollback of Internet Explorer earlier this year. This eliminated a common infection vector used by hackers to infect Windows systems with malicious code.
The move is part of a broader strategy to reduce the ability of malicious campaigns that use various Windows and Office features to infect. Attackers use VBScript to spread malware on victims’ computers, including well-known strains such as Lokibot, Emotet, Qbot, and more recently, DarkGate and others.
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