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Windows XP

Surfing the Web Securely (part 3) - Blocking Pop-Up Windows

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12/12/2011 4:00:22 PM

Blocking Pop-Up Windows

Among the most annoying things on the Web arethose ubiquitous pop-up windows that infest your screen with advertisements when you visit certain sites. (A variation on the theme is the pop under, a window that opens under your current browser window, so you don’t know it’s there until you close the window.) Pop-up windows can also be dangerous because some unscrupulous software makers have figured out ways to use them to install software on your computer without your permission. They’re nasty things, any way you look at them.

Fortunately, Microsoft has given us a way to stop pop-ups before they start. In the Windows XP Service Pack 2, Internet Explorer comes with a new feature called the Pop-up Blocker that looks for pop-ups and prevents them from opening. Follow these steps to use and configure the Pop-up Blocker:

1.
In Internet Explorer, select Tools, Options to display the Internet Options dialog box.

2.
Display the Privacy tab.

3.
Activate the Pop-up Blocker check box.

4.
To set options for this feature, click Settings to display the Pop-up Blocker Settings dialog box. You have the following options (click Close when you’re done):

Address of Web Site to AllowUse this option when you have a site that displays pop-ups you want to see. Type the address and then click Add.
Play a Sound When a Pop-upWhen this check box is activated, Internet Explorer plays a Is Blocked brief sound each time it blocks a pop-up. If this gets annoying after a while, deactivate this check box.
Show Information Bar When a Pop-up Is BlockedWhen this check box is activated, Internet Explorer displays a yellow bar below the Address bar each time it blocks a pop-up so that you know it’s working on your behalf.

5.
Click OK.

With the Pop-Up Blocker on the case, it monitors your surfing and steps in front of any pop-up window that tries to disturb your peace. Figure 3 shows the yellow Information bar that appears under the Address bar to let you know when a pop-up was thwarted. If you want to see the pop-up anyway, click the Information bar and then click Show Blocked Pop-up in the menu that appears.

Figure 3. When the Pop-Up Blocker is active, it displays a yellow information bar each time it blocks a pop-up ad.

Understanding Internet Explorer’s Advanced Security Options

To close our look at Windows XP’s Internet security features, this section takes you through Internet Explorer’s Advanced security options. To see these options, select Tools, Internet Options, display the Advanced tab, and then scroll down to the Security section.

Caution

Don’t surf the Web from an account with Administrator privileges. An account with Limited User or Power User privileges is much less susceptible to getting a virus.


  • Allow Active Content from CDs to Run on My Computer (Service Pack 2)— Leave this check box deactivated to prevent active content such as scripts and controls located in CD-based web pages to execute on your computer. However, if you have a CD-based program that won’t function, you might need to activate this check box to enable the program to work properly.

  • Allow Active Content to Run in Files on My Computer (Service Pack 2)— Leave this check box deactivated to prevent active content such as scripts and controls located in local web pages to execute on your computer. If you’re testing a web page that includes active content, activate this check box so that you can test the web pages locally.

  • Allow Software to Run or Install Even If the Signature Is Invalid (Service Pack 2)— Leave this check box deactivated to avoid running or installing software that doesn’t have a valid digital signature. If you can’t get a program to run or install, consider activating this check box.

  • Check for Publisher’s Certificate Revocation— When this option is activated, Internet Explorer examines a site’s digital security certificates to see whether they have been revoked.

  • Check for Server Certificate Revocation (Requires Restart)— If you activate this option, Internet Explorer also checks the security certificate for the web page’s server.

  • Check for Signatures on Downloaded Programs— If you activate this check box, Internet Explorer checks for a digital signature on any program that you download.

  • Do Not Save Encrypted Pages to Disk— If you activate this option, Internet Explorer won’t store encrypted files in the Temporary Internet Files folder.

  • Empty Temporary Internet Files Folder When Browser Is Closed— When this option is activated, Internet Explorer removes all files from the Temporary Internet Files folder when you exit the program.

  • Enable Integrated Windows Authentication— When this check box is activated, Internet Explorer uses Integrated Windows Authentication—formerly known as Windows NT Challenge/Response authentication—to attempt to log on to a restricted site. This means the browser attempts to log on using the current credentials from the user’s network domain logon. If this doesn’t work, Internet Explorer displays a dialog box prompting the user for a user name and password.

  • Enable Profile Assistant— This check box toggles the Profile Assistant on and off. Your profile is an extra entry in the Windows Address Book that stores your personal information (name, address, and so on). The Profile Assistant can work with some websites to share this data, which prevents you from having to enter this data by hand. To edit your profile, see the options in the Content tab’s Personal Information group.

  • Use SSL 2.0— This check box toggles support for the Secure Sockets Layer Level 2 security protocol on and off. This version of SSL is currently the Web’s standard security protocol.

  • Use SSL 3.0— This check box toggles support for SSL Level 3 on and off. SSL 3.0 is more secure than SSL 2.0 (it can authenticate both the client and the server), but isn’t currently as popular as SSL 2.0.

  • Use TLS 1.0— This check box toggles support for Transport Layer Security (TLS) on and off. This is a relatively new protocol, so few websites implement it.

  • Warn About Invalid Site Certificates— When activated, this option tells Internet Explorer to display a warning dialog box if a site is using an invalid digital security certificate.

  • Warn If Changing Between Secure and Not Secure Mode— When activated, this option tells Internet Explorer to display a warning dialog box whenever you enter and leave a secure site.

  • Warn If Forms Submittal Is Being Redirected— When activated, this option tells Internet Explorer to display a warning dialog box if a form submission is going to be sent to a site other than the one hosting the form.

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