Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Configuring Security Settings in Internet Explorer

To configure Internet Explorer security settings that control what types of content Internet Explorer can download and use—content such as ActiveX controls, files, and fonts. Internet Explorer contains many settings designed to protect the computer and the user from security hazards when browsing the Internet. Knowing the available configuration options gives you a greater understanding of potential threats and of the methods that you can utilize to help protect
users against them.

The Security tab of the Internet Options dialog box, shown in Figure 11-8, provides a

method of controlling security based on security zones. Security zones contain a list

of websites deemed to have similar security settings requirements. You’ll be asked to

resolve problems that have to do with zone configurations; these problems will mainly

be issues regarding the inability to view or access something or to comply with company

security directives. To resolve these types of calls, you’ll need an understanding

of the default settings for each zone.

The four zones provided are as follows:

Internet Contains all websites that you have not placed in other zones.

Local Intranet Contains all websites that are on the local network. By default,

this zone includes all sites that bypass the proxy server (if a proxy server is being

used) and all local network paths. You can add additional sites to this zone by

selecting the zone and clicking Sites.

Trusted Sites Contains websites that are believed to be safe. There are no sites

in this zone by default. You can add sites to this zone as you see fit by selecting

the zone and clicking Sites.

Restricted Sites Contains websites that could potentially be harmful. There are

no sites in this zone by default. You can add sites to this zone as you see fit by

selecting the zone and clicking Sites.

Service calls involving security zones can have to do with an end user’s need to have

more (or less) access to Web content than she currently has or to place a Web site in a

specific zone and use that zone’s default security settings. You might also receive calls

to configure users’ computers to comply with a company security policy requirement

to enable or disable a specific security setting.

Although it is generally a good idea to leave each security zone set to its defaults, you

can customize the security level for each site if the default settings are not adequate for

a user. For example, some users might enjoy a more secure environment, but would

prefer that Internet Explorer give them the option of blocking content rather than

blocking the content automatically. Customize the security level of a site by selecting

the site and clicking Default Level; then drag the slider that appears to the desired security


The security levels that you can configure are as follows:

High, which is appropriate for sites that might have harmful content.

Less-secure features are disabled.

The safest way to browse, but functionality is potentially lost.

Medium, which is appropriate for most Internet sites.

Prompts before downloading potentially unsafe content.

Unsigned ActiveX controls are not downloaded.

Medium-Low, which is appropriate for local sites.

Most content is run without prompts.

Unsigned ActiveX controls are not downloaded.

Low, which is appropriate for sites that are trusted.

Minimal safeguards and warning prompts are provided.

Most content is downloaded and runs without prompts.

All ActiveX content can run.

Default security levels for each zone are as follows:

The Internet zone has a Medium security level.

The Local Intranet zone has a Medium security level.

The Trusted Sites zone has a Low security level.

The Restricted Sites zone has a High security level.

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