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Configuring Microsoft products for safety, security and privacy

Internet Explorer - INTERNET ZONE SETTINGS - also see Advanced, OE and Brief version

Just to re-iterate why this is so important - these are the SECURITY SETTINGS FOR ANY UNKNOWN SITE or one that you have chosen to remain at this 'level'. You may want to 'promote' trusted sites to a higher level using the instructions in How to trust a web site to allow them more freedom to exploit interactive and other features of your browser.

For anyone who thinks that Active-X controls are more trustworthy when they are signed should see an old quote from the MS site - it shows what the early designers had in mind (or not!)...

These are all the settings for the Internet Zone. To get to these settings from Internet Explorer simply click on "Tools" then "Internet Options" then "Security" (top Tab) then click on "Custom level" while having "Internet Zone" highlighted (the "Globe" icon).

The easiest and safest way to achieve all these settings is to start by selecting "High" in the "Reset Custom settings" and then click "Reset". Doing this will switch off anything that is deemed (by MS!) as at all dangerous!

Then you can restore the basic minimum to allow web sites to interact with you efficiently and effectively but without exposing the security flaws.

The ten images to the right are what you want to achieve and the changes are hopefully highlighted in bright blue - enable Javascript and submit forms on an insecure connection - screen shots 8 and 9 to the right if you have already done a 'Reset to High'.

As good background reading material the following link is MS advice for a commercial environment (Windows Server) but it is equally relevant for a home or small business user who wants to be more secure: Microsoft advice for commercial users of MS IE

To the right is a complete set of screen shots of the settings, to achieve them is actually just 4-5 clicks - Reset to High security as described above and then make the two changes in Brief IE Internet Zone Config which are the only settings that need to be 'upgraded' in order for the zone to be useful for browsing the web.

Active-X controls - to sign or not to sign - that isn't the question!

The following quote from the MS web site is very old but is demonstrates how much faith you might want to have in even digitally signed Active-X controls:

Sign that control

To sign your control, you'll need to obtain a certificate from a Certificate Authority such as VeriSign, Inc. Find directions from VeriSign

There are two classes of digital IDs for Microsoft Authenticode&tm; technology. Class 2 certificates, for individuals who publish software, cost US$20 per year and require that you provide your name, address, e-mail address, date of birth, and Social Security Number. After VeriSign verifies this information, you will be issued a certificate.

I hope that has been useful. Any Comments, suggestions or corrections to: Contact us please. This would be especially useful if the software environment you have is different to mine and the headings, text or prompts are different.

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