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Internet Explorer's Security Zones - Part 1

Internet Explorer provides the ability to divide the Internet into zones, so that you can assign a Web site to a zone with an appropriate security level. Most users don't pay much attention to IE's Internet Zones and related security options and simply use IE's default security settings. If you have never taken a look at your ability to customize browser security, you're in good company.

Beginning this week and continuing for the next three issues, we'll take a look at suggested security settings for the three primary zones: Trusted Sites, Restricted Sites, and the Internet Zone.

To help protect your system while visiting Web sites, here's a simple strategy to consider, courtesy of Internet Explorer's Security Zones: Divide Web sites into three groups:

1) Sites that you trust and therefore want all interactive features to function (like your bank, broker, shopping sites such as ebay,, Mr. Modemís site, and sites of other sterling individuals with impeccable reputations.)

2) Sites that you're not sure about and don't yet know if they can be trusted, which would include sites you visit during the course of general surfing, exploring various Web sites.

3) Sites that you don't trust and want to view safely (like sites where you download free fonts, graphics, stationery, etc.)

Adjusting Security Zone settings in Internet Explorer is accomplished through its Internet Options window. From within Internet Explorer, click Tools > Internet Options > Security tab. At the top of the Security tab under "Select a Web content zone to specify its security settings," is a box displaying icons for the four security zones: Internet, Local Intranet, Trusted Sites, Restricted Sites. Select a zone by clicking that zone's icon, which will display its security settings in the area below.

In Part 2 of this series, we'll take a look at IE's Trusted Sites zone.

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