Monday, June 24, 2013

Internet Explorer 10: Built-in Security and Privacy Features

The web browser is the number one attack surface criminals are using to infect your computer or steal private information.  None of the security and privacy technologies built into any browser are perfect, and will keep you safe at all times.  The bad guys are updating their tools and exploits all the time to try to circumvent these protections.

Internet criminals use weaknesses in a browser or its extensions to execute malicious code on the local computer. Although, by keeping your browser and extensions up-to-date.  Also limiting the number of extensions you install to the bare minimum, you can help protect your computer and your privacy.

In the past Internet Explorer had a bad reputation for being vulnerable to these types of attacks.  Microsoft has worked hard to clean up Internet Explorer's reputation in the last few years.  For more information see the following report from NSS Labs.

Below is a list the more well known Internet Explorer 10's built-in security and privacy features:
  • Tracking Protection: Helps filters out scripts and files that can track you online (more info).
    • Tools, Safety menu, Tracking Protection...
  • SmartScreen: Filters malicious web sites and content
    • Tools, Safety menu, Turn on SmartScreen filters...
  • Disables Flash extensions: Disables the Flash plug-ins by default when a web page is loaded.
    • Note: IE has two interfaces, desktop which supports add-ons, and the touch screen native interface that doesn't.
  • InPrivacy Browsing: Doesn't record the browsing history (cookies, visited sites, etc.).
    • Press: Ctrl + Shift + P
  • Delete Browser History: Automatically purges the browser's history when exiting.
    • Internet Options, check the Delete browsing history on exit checkbox
  • Security Zone: Enables or disables browser features based on the site's URL
    • Tools, Internet Options, Security tab
  • Privacy Settings: Controls how cookies are handled by the browser.
    • Tools, Internet Options, Privacy tab 
  • Family Safety: Controls what content different users can view.
    • Tools, Internet Options, Content tab, press the Family Safety button
  • Password Manager: Stores usernames and passwords for different sites.
    • Tools, Internet Options, Content tab, press the Setting button in the AutoComplete section.
  • Popup Blocker: Prevents web sites from spawning popup windows.
    • Tools, Internet Options, Privacy tab, press the Setting button in the Pop-up Blocker section.
  • More information.
Some additional security/privacy suggestions:
  • If you use Java regularly make sure to keep it up-to-date, otherwise consider uninstalling it.
  • The built-in Reader app in Windows 8 can display PDFs, so you don't need a 3rd party application.
  • Install CCCleaner, it purges private information better then the built-in tools.

No comments: