IE7 and Vista: Using IE7 and Vista Safely: Page 5

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Setting Internet Zones

One of the most important features of Internet Explorer 7 is the ability to configure zones. When you open Internet Explorer’s properties, you will find the Security tab, which houses the Internet, Local intranet, Trusted sites, and Restricted sites zones.

You can configure these zones to allow for tighter security, or less-restrictive security, based on your browsing habits. For example, if you access the Internet and your local intranet simultaneously, you may need to configure security differently in each zone.

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You can set each zone to the specific level of security you need. For instance, you may want to set the Internet zone to a very high level to avoid malware attacks (for the most part), even though it will reduce your browsing functionality severely, or you may want to set the Internet zone to a very low level so that you can do anything you want to do with your browser. You also can enable Protected Mode within this dialog.

If you need to configure more granular security, you can click on the Custom level button, which will open the Security Settings dialog for the zone you have selected. So, if you want to configure more granular levels of security on the Internet zone, select that zone and select Custom level, which will open the settings for that particular zone. Figure 2.5 shows advanced settings in which you can adjust for the Internet zone to include advanced cookies.

Configuring Privacy

The next tab you can configure within Internet Options is your privacy level. In the Internet Options dialog box, select the Privacy tab. In the Privacy tab, you will find many settings to help secure your browser further. For example, you can select privacy settings based on a specific zone.

When configured correctly, you can either raise or lower the privacy settings you want based on your browsing habits. When the Internet zone is configured with a medium privacy rating, this makes sure that all third-party cookies are blocked from doing things you may not want them to do.

You can also select the Site s button, which will allow you to configure specific sites that you will either allow or not allow to use cookies, regardless of the privacy policy you select. Although the privacy settings may disallow cookies altogether, this setting allows you to manually override Internet Explorer’s privacy settings to allow any site you feel is not a threat.

You can also use the Advanced button on the Privacy tab to specify how cookies should be handled in a particular zone. For the Internet zone, you can configure to override automatic cookie handling, and specify more granular settings.

Internet Explorer 7 also provides settings that allow you to control your security. On the bottom of the Privacy tab dialog you will find the Pop-up Blocker. Here, you can enable the Pop-up Blocker to block any pop up (or warn of a pop up) whenever you surf the Internet. By clicking on the Settings button, you can further control the Pop-up Blocker. You also can specify sites from which you will allow pop ups without the need to be prompted, in case you visit sites often that have pop ups which are generally benign in nature.

Other settings include a filter level, which can help you select a filtering level that makes sense for your browsing habits, as well as information bar settings and notifications such as sounds that will play when a problem occurs.

Advanced Security Settings

The last tab in the Internet Options dialog is the Advanced tab, as seen in Figure 2.10. Within this tab, you will find more than 100 settings that you can adjust. The best way to see what you can do is to scroll through all the options and read them one at a time, as they are very self-explanatory. You can see a few settings that are crucial to applying security to Internet Explorer 7 and should not be overlooked.

For example, you can set more advanced security settings within the Security branch of the Advanced tab. Here you can adjust Internet Explorer’s behavior by further controlling what it can and cannot do. For example, you can select to Allow software to run or install, even if the signature is invalid. Obviously, you would want to leave this unchecked because an invalid signature could lead to an exploited browser, depending on the nature of the site visited.

Here you can adjust how the Phishing Filter behaves, as well as use of the SSL and Transport Layer Security (TLS) protocols.

Once you have completed setting your Advanced security options, click on OK to close the dialog box. Some changes may require you to restart Internet Explorer. Simply close the browser and reopen it to continue working with your new settings.

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