Internet Explorer 8 Security Features

December 9, 2010, By Christian Cawley

Browsing the web safely requires a browser with various tools and safety features built in that can protect your PC from intrusions and other threats. While anti-virus and anti-Spyware tools (such as Windows Defender) are very useful, using a modern browser can stop many problems at source.

While Mozilla Firefox has long been promoted as a secure browser, the last couple of versions of Microsoft’s Internet Explorer have also been shored up to protect your personal data and your PC from intrusions.

Various options exist in Internet Explorer 8 to protect you and your PC browser based hacks and hijacks – and if they fail thanks to a dodgy add-on then your browser can easily be reset.

Using Internet Explorer 8 security tools

Block Pop-ups with Internet Explorer 8

One of the first security settings you should check in Internet Explorer 8 is the ability to block pop-ups. As you probably know, these are the frustrating pages that appear when you click on a link to another web page, and can appear in front of the main browser window or behind it (these are commonly known as “pop unders”).

You can enable or disable this in Tools > Pop-up Blocker, where you will also find the Pop-up Blocker Settings.

With Pop-up Blocker Settings you can add websites to your list of Allowed sites in order to permit them to launch pop-ups, as well as configure the notifications. Two check boxes configure Internet Explorer 8 to Play a sound when a pop-up is blocked and Show Information bar when a pop-up is blocked.

Finally you can specify a Blocking level – choose from Low, Medium and Large.

Delete Browsing History in Internet Explorer 8

With Internet Explorer 8 safety options you can control browsing history and check with Microsoft.com for any reports about the websites you are visiting.

These options are available via the Safety menu on the Command Bar which is found on the right-hand side of the browser window.

The first thing you will find in this menu is Delete Browsing History…. With this set of tools, you can delete not just History but Cookies, Temporary Internet files, Form data, Passwords and InPrivate Filtering data (more on that below).  Each of these options has a checkbox that includes them in the Delete process. If you’re concerned about your favourite websites slowing down following this process, you can also tick the box to Preserve Favorites website data, although this will only apply to websites that are in your Favorites folder.

InPrivate Browsing and SmartScreen Filter

Using the InPrivate Browsing feature in Internet Explorer 8 (Safety > InPrivate Browsing) prevents the browser storing information about your current browsing session – so cookies, temporary internet files and history are ignored, while toolbars and extensions are disabled. This is a useful feature which can prove particularly valuable if you plan on buying gifts for a loved one who shares your computer, or if you’re using Internet Explorer 8 in a cyber café.

An extension of this is InPrivate Filtering. This option prevents providers that supply some content to the websites you are visiting from sharing your information (which might be used to build a profile for you for marketing purposes).

Finally Internet Explorer 8 features the SmartScreen Filter tool via the Safety menu. This is equipped with three options:

Check This Website – this option checks with an index of troublesome websites to find any reference to the page you are currently viewing. If anyone has used the Report Unsafe Website option, this will be relayed to you.

Turn Off SmartScreen Filter… – this will disable and enable the SmartScreen Filter.

Report Unsafe Website – if you have concerns about the current website, use this option. Microsoft will then add the URL to its list of suspicious websites.

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