Join Jess Stratton for an in-depth discussion in this video Checking settings for Internet Explorer, part of Learning Computer Security and Internet Safety.
- Let's go over some recommended security settings if you use the Internet Explorer web browser. This list is not exhaustive. Meaning, there's a lot more we could do, but I picked the features that would give you the most security without compromising convenience, and one that would still give you a good and fun web experience. At the very top of the list, is to always make sure you're running the correct version. As each new version, comes with more security options and bug fixes for previously security leaks. To find out what version you're running, click the gear icon in the top right hand side and choose 'About Internet Explorer'.
I'm running Internet Explorer 11, which has a feature that will always make sure it's up to date. So, if you're also running Internet Explorer, place a checkmark next to 'Install new versions automatically', and you'll always have security fixes. If you weren't running this version, when you view the 'About Internet Explorer' page, there will be a link to update it. I'll click 'Close'. Now, let's look at the security settings for the browser. I'm going to click back on the gear, and this time I'm going to select 'Internet Options'. I'm going to click on the Security tab.
Internet Explorer gives you four zones to work with. When you visit a website, Internet Explorer uses the rules that are set in this Internet zone. When you visit a site in your local network in front of the firewall, it's considered Local Intranet. Finally, you may have put websites that you can always know that you trust or that you always want to restrict settings on. The way these zones work is that Microsoft to set up default levels of security restrictions for these zones. These levels have been set up to give you the most security, again, without compromising convenience.
Now, you may need to change these if a special case arises, for example, if you're having trouble accessing features on a website that you know is safe, you can add it to the trusted site zone, which has a lower level of security by allowing you to download certain types of files that you know won't harm your computer. At any time, you can click 'Sites' in a particular zone and add certain websites to that zone. I'll click 'Close' to get out of this dialogue. If you've done this in the past, or if you've made a mistake with the setting and now you're running into trouble, you can always reset these zones to their default values by clicking on the zone and clicking the 'Default' level button.
This button is always grayed out unless you've made changes. Now, it's always recommended to make sure this internet zone at the very least, stays on 'Medium high'. The next option I consider personal preference. I'm going to click back over to the General tab. You can choose to have Internet Explorer delete your browsing history when you exit and close out of the browser every time. If you want this to happen, you can place a checkbox next to 'Delete browsing history on exit'. It's definitely a major convenience item to have your web history and other cookies stored, so you might not want to do this, but it is a good practice if you're on a laptop.
I'll be talking more about how cookies work in a later video. Let's head over to the Privacy tab. Here you want to make sure that you have a pop-up blocker turned on. So, place a checkbox next to 'Turn on pop-up blocker'. I'll click 'OK' here. Part of the default security settings in Internet Explorer is to have something called the 'Smart screen filter' turned on. This filter will warn you if you're visiting a website that's considered unsafe, that is, if it's been reported by somebody else that malicious code resides on that site.
To make sure it's turned on, click the gear icon. Click 'Safety', and then make sure it says 'Turn off smart screen filter'. If you see the turn off option, that means it's already on. So, if you have the choice to turn it on, then definitely do so. In a later video, I'm going to be talking about website privacy policies and what 'Do not track requests' mean. For now though, let's look at the security settings in the popular Mozilla Firefox browser.
- Installing updates
- Using antivirus software and protecting against viruses
- Enabling Windows Firewall
- Using password-management software
- Encrypting files that contain sensitive data
- Securing your router and protecting the SSID
- Understanding the signs of a secure website
- Checking settings for Internet Explorer, Firefox, Chrome, and Safari
- Unsubscribing from email subscriptions
- Reviewing site privacy settings
- Browsing on a public computer
- Understanding cookies
- Protecting other people's names and locations
- Fact-checking email warnings