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Using Firefox instead of IE6 -- what high security settings should I s


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#1
bloomcounty

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I'm using the newest version of Firefox and not using my IE6 at all.

The only time I'd use it would be to do Windows Update. (I have an XP-SP2 laptop.)

I thought I read it's good (or doesn't hurt) to set everything in IE to high security settings if you're not using it. (And I seem to recall there were some custom settings it was best to do...?)

So I was wondering what those settings were and what the best way to set IE security is if I'm only using Firefox...?

(I guess I'd need to change the settings each time I do Windows Update though, right? Then put them back to the high settings?)

Thanks!
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#2
Johanna

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Open IE.
Tools> Internet Options>Security tab> highlight "internet" click "custom level" and use the drop down menu then "reset" to set your preference. MS Update will work on High Security, so you shouldn't have to fool with it to do updates.
Johanna
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#3
bloomcounty

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Open IE.
Tools> Internet Options>Security tab> highlight "internet" click "custom level" and use the drop down menu then "reset" to set your preference. MS Update will work on High Security, so you shouldn't have to fool with it to do updates.


Nice avatar! :whistling:

What should I reset to? Should I just turn everything off, etc.?

And no matter what I set here, I'll still be able to connect to Windows Update?

(On my old Windows 98SE machine, I had all those settings to off or whatever, and I had to reset back to medium or medium-high to connect to Windows Update... But I did also change the settings in the Trusted Zones and the Network Zone to the same high settings...)

So should I make any changes to the Trusted Zone and/or the Network Zone? (I'm not connected to a network, but the laptop does have two logons, one for me and one for my wife...)

Or are there settings I should make sure are set a certain way in those two zones?

Thanks!
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#4
bloomcounty

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Okay, I did what you said. But when I tried to to Windows Update, as I suspected, it wouldn't work. It said that because Active X such and such wasn't on (or something like that), it couldn't connect. And it suggested adding Windows Update to my Safe List... But I didn't just choose high security, I went in and denied or disallowed everything...

So how exactly should I set all this in IE? Internet, intranet, safe sites, blocked sites, etc.?

Thanks!
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#5
Johanna

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But I didn't just choose high security, I went in and denied or disallowed everything...


Go back and choose high security, and put the MS update site in your trusted zone, if you want. If you disable all the IE features, how do you expect it to work? If you are using a good third party firewall, and seldom using IE anyway, why bother to disable all the functions? The default Med High or High Security setting is sufficient. I hope you are not feeling that by using Firefox you are "safer", because that would be a false sense of security. Now that FF has captured a bigger share of the browser market, the incentive to exploit it has increased proportionately. Any time you disable features on any browser, the trade off is reduced functionality. If you disabled all the same features in FF like you did IE, would it allow you to view and use your regular sites? Probably not. You can't expect IE to do it's job if you cripple it, which you did when you denied and disabled IE permissions instead of choosing the default security setting that suits your needs.

Johanna
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#6
bloomcounty

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Go back and choose high security, and put the MS update site in your trusted zone, if you want. If you disable all the IE features, how do you expect it to work? If you are using a good third party firewall, and seldom using IE anyway, why bother to disable all the functions? The default Med High or High Security setting is sufficient.


Thanks for the reply! The thing I'm wondering about though, is that I've read that its important to disable Active X, cross domain scripting and other potentially dangerous activities, which I don't think get turned off, even in the high security setting. And that websites can use these things to cause problems, even if you aren't using IE because it's integrated with Windows. Is this true?

Thanks again!

Edited by bloomcounty, 06 February 2007 - 10:37 AM.

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#7
Johanna

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If you are using XP SP2 with IE set to the High security setting, your bases are covered. Yes, IE is integrated into Windows, but if it's not connecting to the Internet except to collect MS updates, you're protected. I am concerned that you place so much faith into Firefox's security that you may be overlooking potential risks with that browser.

In the malware forums, it's often not the settings of the browser that allowed the "bad guys" in, it's the selection of websites visited, downloads accepted, and/or P2P use of the user that compromises the system.
Johanna
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#8
bloomcounty

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If you are using XP SP2 with IE set to the High security setting, your bases are covered. Yes, IE is integrated into Windows, but if it's not connecting to the Internet except to collect MS updates, you're protected.


I saw on the Mozilla site that it said to add Windows Update to the Trusted Zone and mark the settings "Medium", then mark the rest "High". So do I not need to add Windows Update to the trusted zone?

And I promise not to assume I'm safe with using Firefox! :whistling:
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