Providing user security and privacy in the corporate environment


This section describes the security and privacy options of Internet Explorer 9 that are particularly important for administrators who need to protect the information, network, and users within their corporate environment.

Because web browsers enable users to exchange important information and programs through the Internet and the intranet, consider the security requirements needed to protect your users' privacy and the contents of their exchanges. You should make educated choices about the types of browser security and privacy that you want to implement for your users.

Internet Explorer 9 supports a wide range of Internet protocols for secure information transfers and financial transactions over the Internet or the intranet. Internet Explorer 9 also provides a variety of features to help users ensure the privacy of their information and the safety of their work environment.

Users can set their own security and privacy options from within the browser, or you can preconfigure these options as part of your custom browser packages. When you preconfigure these settings, you have the option of locking them down, which prevents users from changing them.

For more information about preconfiguring security options, see Customizing Internet Explorer 9 using IEAK in this deployment guide.

You can implement the following options, depending on your users' security and privacy needs:

  • Microsoft Windows Defender. You can enhance security and privacy protections by using Windows Defender with Internet Explorer 9. Extending protection against malware at the browser level, Windows Defender helps prevent malware from entering the computer through a download.

  • Microsoft SmartScreen. Developers of phishing and other malicious activities thrive on lack of communication and limited information sharing. With the SmartScreen® Filter, anti-phishing tools screen threats from imposter websites seeking to acquire personal information such as user names, passwords, billing data, and more. SmartScreen also includes new anti-malware tools to help prevent spyware, adware, and other potentially dangerous software from infiltrating your computer system and monitoring your every move.

  • Privacy preferences. Websites increasingly pull content in from multiple sources, providing tremendous value to consumer and sites alike. Users are often not aware that some content, images, ads and analytics are being provided from third-party sites, or that these sites have the ability to track their behavior across multiple websites. InPrivate Filtering provides users an added level of control and choice about the information that third-party websites can potentially use to track browsing activity.

  • Security zones. Internet Explorer 9 security zones enable you to divide the Internet and intranet into four groups of trusted and untrusted areas, and to designate the particular safe and unsafe areas that specific web content belongs to. This content can be any item, from an HTML or graphics file to a Microsoft ActiveX® control, a Java applet, or an executable program.

    After establishing zones of trust, you can set browser security levels for each zone. Then based on the zone that a site belongs to, you can control settings for ActiveX controls, downloading and installation, scripting, cookie management, password authentication, cross-frame security, and Microsoft virtual machine (VM) capabilities.

  • Digital certificates. To verify the identity of individuals and organizations on the web and to ensure content integrity, Internet Explorer 9 uses industry-standard digital certificates and Microsoft Authenticode® 2.0 technology. Together with security zones, certificates enable you to control user access to online content based on the type, source, and location of the content. For example, you can use security zones in conjunction with certificates to give users full access to web content on your organization's intranet, yet limit access to content from restricted Internet sites.

  • Content ratings. The Internet Explorer 9 Content Advisor enables you to control the types of content that users can access on the Internet. You can adjust the content rating settings to reflect the appropriate content in four areas: language, nudity, sex, and violence. You can also control access by approving or disapproving individual websites for user viewing.

  • Permission-based security for Microsoft virtual machine. Internet Explorer 9 provides permission-based security for Microsoft virtual machine, and comprehensive management of the permissions granted to Java applets and libraries. Enhanced administrative options include fine-grained control over the capabilities granted to Java code, such as access to scratch space, local files, and network connections. These options enable you to give an application some additional capabilities without providing unlimited access to every system capability.

  • Tracking protection. Tracking Protection helps your users stay in control of their privacy as they browse the web. Some of the content, images, ads, and analytics that your users see on the websites they visit are provided by outside or third-party websites. While this content can provide value to your organization, these third-party websites have the ability to track your behavior across multiple sites. Tracking Protection provides you an added level of control and choice about the information that third-party websites can potentially use to track your browsing activity.

    Tracking Protection Lists help enhance your privacy and help protect you from online tracking by blocking web content that may be used to track you. Simply add a Tracking Protection List from one of the Tracking Protection List providers. These Tracking Protection Lists contain domains which Internet Explorer will block, as well as domains Internet Explorer will not block. As you browse to different sites, Internet Explorer helps ensure that personal information about you, such as your IP address or the site you are currently viewing, is not sent to the domains that are blocked. Once you’ve installed a Tracking Protection List, the settings apply to all the sites you browse to and are preserved each time you begin a new browsing session. Tracking Protection stays on until you decide to turn it off.

For more information about security and privacy issues in the corporate environment, see the Internet Explorer 9 Product Guide for IT Professionals.