Friday, June 02, 2006

Internet Explorer 7 New Security Features

Internet Explorer V7 is available as a Beta and can be used on Windows XP. One of the big areas of change is the security features added to the product. Here's a list from Microsoft on the new features - you can use the link to go to the Microsoft page to read more and download a beta copy if you wish.

Internet Explorer 7 Security Features:

  • ActiveX Opt-inDisables nearly all pre-installed ActiveX controls to prevent potentially vulnerable controls from being exposed to attack. You can easily enable or disable ActiveX controls as needed through the Information Bar and the Add-on Manager.
    Security Status BarEnhances awareness of website security and privacy settings by displaying color-coded notifications next to the address bar. Internet Explorer 7 changes the Address Bar to green for websites bearing new High Assurance certificates, indicating the site owner has completed extensive identity verification checks. Phishing Filter notifications, certificate names, and the gold padlock icon are now also adjacent to the address bar for better visibility. Certificate and privacy detail information can easily be displayed with a single click on the Security Status Bar.

  • Phishing FilterProactively warns and helps protect you against potential or known fraudulent sites and blocks the site if appropriate. The opt-in filter is updated several times per hour using the latest security information from Microsoft and several industry partners.

  • Cross-Domain BarriersLimits script on webpages from interacting with content from other domains or windows. This enhanced safeguard will further protect against malware by limiting the potential for malicious websites to manipulate flaws in other websites or cause you to download undesired content or software.

  • Delete Browsing HistoryAllows you to clean up cached pages, passwords, form data, cookies, and history, all from a single window.

  • Address Bar ProtectionEvery window, whether it's a pop-up or standard window, will present an address bar to the user, helping to block malicious sites from emulating trusted sites.

  • International Domain Name Anti-spoofing. In addition to adding support for International Domain Names in URLs, Internet Explorer also notifies you when visually similar characters in the URL are not expressed in the same language, thus protecting you against sites that could otherwise appear as known, trustworthy sites.
    URL Handling SecurityRedesigned URL parsing ensures consistent processing and minimizes possible exploits. The new URL handler helps centralize critical data parsing and increases data consistency throughout the application.

  • Fix My SettingsTo help protect you from browsing with unsafe settings, Internet Explorer 7 warns you with an Information Bar when current security settings may put you at risk. Within the Internet Control Panel, you will see certain critical items highlighted in red when they are unsafely configured. In addition to alerts warning you about unsafe settings, you will be reminded by the Information Bar as long as the settings remain unsafe. You can instantly reset Internet security settings to the "Medium-High" default level by clicking the "Fix My Settings" option in the Information Bar.

  • Add-ons Disabled ModeTo help troubleshoot difficulties launching Internet Explorer or reaching specific websites, you have the ability to start in "No Add-ons" mode, where only critical system Add-ons are enabled.

One other note - all of the features above are available to users of Windows XP. There are a couple more available only on Windows Vista. As that's not yet on general release I haven't included them here.


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