Configuring Internet Explorer Security in Visual Studio .NET

Painting Code 3/9 in Visual Studio .NET Configuring Internet Explorer Security

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Configuring Internet Explorer Security
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For more information, look up When to trust a website in Windows Help and Support.
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Secure websites provide an encrypted connection between IE7+ and the site. Encrypted connections make it difficult for a hacker to intercept a user s personal or financial information. This encryption is provided by a security certificate, which is an electronic document that identifies the website. Although encryption can help protect user information as it travels over the Internet, it does not guarantee that the website is reputable or that the website owners protect confidential information when they receive it. When you access a secure website, IE7+ displays a lock in the Security Status bar at the top of the browser window. Clicking the lock lets the user view a security report that displays the identity information for the website, as shown in Figure 6-30.
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Figure 6-30
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The Microsoft Security at Home website provides tools, tips, and links to help home users access the Internet more safely. Much of the information on this site is also applicable to small business users. You can access this site at http://www.microsoft.com/athome/security/default.mspx.
Lesson 2: Configuring Dynamic Security for Internet Explorer 7+
Managing Add-Ons
Add-ons for example, ActiveX controls, browser extensions, browser helper objects, or toolbars can improve user experience on a website by providing multimedia or interactive content. However, some add-ons can cause a computer to stop responding or to display undesirable content, such as pop-up advertisements.
ActiveX Controls
ActiveX is a set of technologies that Microsoft developed in order to share information among different applications. ActiveX controls use these technologies and can be automatically downloaded and executed by a web browser, such as IE7+. Programmers develop ActiveX controls in a variety of languages, including C, C++, Visual Basic, and Java. ActiveX controls have full access to the Windows OS. With this power comes a certain risk that the control might damage a user s software or data. To lessen this risk, Microsoft developed a registration system so that browsers can identify and authenticate an ActiveX control before downloading it. If you, or users whom you support, encounter problems that you think might be related to an add-on, you can use the Manage Add-Ons dialog box to disable that add-on. If you do not know which add-on is causing problems, you can disable them one at a time. You can also enable add-ons one at a time, delete ActiveX controls if required, and download any new addons that are available. To access the Manage Add-Ons dialog box, shown in Figure 6-31, you select Tools in IE7+ and then click Manage Add-Ons. In the Show drop-down list, you can choose to view add-ons that have been used by Internet Explorer. This displays all add-ons installed on the computer. You can also view add-ons currently loaded in Internet Explorer. This displays only those add-ons that are needed for the current webpage or a recently viewed webpage. You can view add-ons that run without requiring permission. This displays add-ons that were preapproved by Microsoft, your computer manufacturer or a service provider, and have typically been checked and digitally signed. Finally, you can view downloaded ActiveX controls. You can disable any add-on, but you can delete only user-installed ActiveX controls in the Manage Add-Ons dialog box. If you want to remove an add-on, as opposed to merely disabling it, you need to use the Add Or Remove Programs tool in Control Panel.
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Configuring Internet Explorer Security
Figure 6-31
Identity information for a secure website
NOTE
Temporarily disabling all add-ons
If you think a problem might be caused by an add-on, but you do not know which one, you can temporarily disable all add-ons by selecting Accessories from All Programs on the Start menu, clicking System Tools, and then selecting Internet Explorer (No Add-ons).
Some add-ons are digitally signed. This means that there is a specially encoded tag in the file that identifies the publisher. If an add-on is not digitally signed, (Not Verified) is displayed in the Publisher column, as shown in Figure 6-32. This does not necessarily mean that there is anything wrong with the add-on. Web browser add-ons can add useful features for example, extra toolbars, animated mouse pointers, and pop-up ad blockers. A user can download add-ons from the Internet but usually needs to provide administrator credentials in order to install them. Problems can arise when an add-on is installed without the user s knowledge. This can happen if the add-on is part of another program that the user gave permission to install. Some add-ons ship with Windows Vista and install at the same time as the OS. Typically, add-ons seldom cause problems, but sometimes an add-on can force IE7+ to shut down unexpectedly. This can happen if the add-on was created for an earlier version of Internet Explorer or has a programming error. If an add-on causes problems, you can disable it and, if prompted, report the problem to Microsoft. These reports are anonymous and are used to improve Microsoft s products and to encourage other companies to update and improve theirs.
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