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Maintaining Security : Maintaining High Security, Setting Internet Explorer Security

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3/1/2013 4:45:56 PM

1. Maintaining High Security

Microsoft Windows Vista itself provides your computer with many built-in security features. However, as powerful as they are, by themselves these security features can’t protect you from every type of mischief that can occur. You need to be active in protecting your computer, your data, and your personal information.

Doing Your Part

Here are some things you can do to improve your security:

  • Log on using a Standard account instead of an Administrator account, and use the User Account Control to run individual items as an Administrator when required.

  • Make sure you have a good, up-to-date anti-virus program installed. This will add protection against viruses and worms that have figured out ways around some of the security features.

  • In Windows Mail (or the mail program you’re using), read your e-mail in plain Text format instead of using the HTML format. This will prevent any malicious code that’s hidden in the HTML code from being executed when you open the message.

  • In Windows Mail (or the mail program you’re using), don’t download pictures and other external HTML content contained on a server unless you trust the source. Doing so verifies your e-mail address to potential authors of spam and can introduce malicious code.

  • Make sure that your Web content zones in Internet Explorer are properly set and that you’re not using custom settings that provide less protection than the recommended default levels.

  • In Internet Explorer, make sure you have the pop-up blocker turned on to prevent code from being loaded, to prevent a hacker from stealing information by making the pop-up look like a dialog box or other content that asks for information, and to keep those annoying pop-up ads from appearing.

  • In Internet Explorer, make sure you have the phishing filter turned on to identify illicit Web sites that look legitimate but are designed to steal your information.

  • In Internet Explorer, work in Protected mode so that Internet Explorer activities and downloads are isolated from the rest of your computer.

  • Keep Windows up to date with automatic updates. Each critical update is an urgent fix to outmaneuver a newly detected software vulnerability.

  • Use the Windows Security Center to verify that your basic security settings are properly configured and up to date.

  • Stop and think before you do something you might regret: open an attachment, download a file, install a program, or even answer an e-mail message.

  • Keep all your important data backed up so that if something nasty sneaks past all your security, you can recover all the data.

Complicated? Absolutely! But don’t be intimidated: Windows Vista is designed to be as secure as possible and will take care of most security issues. It also adjusts many of your default settings to maintain the optimum balance between security and functionality. And it monitors your security status and alerts you when there’s a problem.

2. Setting Internet Explorer Security

Although most Web sites pose little security threat to your computer, some sites are designed with malicious intentions. In Internet Explorer, to protect your computer from these sites—and to allow access to additional features for sites you know won’t cause any harm—you can set and customize your own security levels and can add sites to your list of trusted or restricted Web sites.

Set Your Security

1. In Internet Explorer, click Tools, choose Internet Options from the drop-down menu, and click the Security tab of the Internet Options dialog box.

2. Click the Trusted Sites zone, click the Sites button, and type or paste an address for a Web site you trust and to which you want full access.

3. Click the Restricted Sites zone, click the Sites button, and type or paste an address for a Web site you believe might be dangerous and from which you want maximum protection.

4. Click in a zone, and do either of the following:

  • Use the slider to adjust the level of security. If the slider isn’t visible, click the Default Level button, and then use the slider.

  • Click Custom Level, and select the options you want in the Security Settings dialog box. Click OK.

5. Select this check box, if it isn’t already selected, to use Protected mode.

6. Repeat steps 4 and 5 for each of the zones, and click Apply.

7. On the Privacy tab, set the privacy level you want to control the types of cookies that are stored and that contain and/or collect information about you.

8. Click OK.

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