Four ways IE9 lets you surf safer

IE9 is faster and integrates the Windows desktop with the Web, and it includes features to let you surf the Web more securely

Throughout the beta testing phase of Internet Explorer, and the days and weeks leading up to its official launch, much has been made of the blazing performance of IE9's hardware accelerated graphics, and the overall immersive experience of the new browser. Another facet of IE9, though -- which has received less attention -- is the improved security of the browser. Here are four features of IE9 that make it safer and more secure:

1. Tracking Protection. If you are concerned with the privacy of your online browsing activities, Microsoft's hybrid approach to the "do not track" dilemma seems to be the best option currently on the table. Microsoft combines Tracking Protection Lists in IE9 -- which essentially blacklist specific sites to block them from gathering tracking data -- with the more proactive approach of alerting sites to your privacy wishes using information in the HTTP header of your Web traffic. Between the two approaches, unwanted tracking of your browsing session should be minimized.

2. SmartScreen Application Reputation. You have probably seen at one time or another the Microsoft warning that "this type of file may harm your computer" when downloading files from your browser. The problem is that the warning is too generic and applies to virtually all downloads. With IE9, Microsoft strives to reduce the number of frivolous warnings, and provide more information for downloads that are truly potential threats. The SmartScreen Application Reputation protection assesses the reputation of a given file or download based on whether it has been signed by its author, the established reputation of the author, and the number of times it has been previously downloaded by others to determine the relative trust the file should be given.

3. Browser Segregation. When you use the pinned sites feature of IE9 and Windows 7 to access a website, the site opens in its own browser session, independent of the desktop browser. The browser session segregation means that session cookies are not accessible by other tabs or windows in the main desktop browser, and are safe from any compromise or abuse from other sites.

4. Stripped Down. Another function of running a site as a pinned site in IE9 and Windows 7 is that the browser session opens without any browser helper objects (BHO) or add-on toolbars that might be installed in the desktop browser. With fewer extraneous apps running within and alongside the browser session, the potential attack surface is minimized and there are fewer opportunities for malicious exploits to attack.

There are other features and functions of Internet Explorer 9 that provide a safer and more secure Web surfing experience. IE9 also includes protection such as DEP and ASLR which have been proven to be vulnerable, but still provide additional layers of protection that can prevent the vast majority of Web-based attacks. These four simply represent some of the more important changes in my opinion.

Join the PC World newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags applicationsbrowser securityMicrosoftbrowserssoftwareInternet Explorerinternet

Our Back to Business guide highlights the best products for you to boost your productivity at home, on the road, at the office, or in the classroom.

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Tony Bradley

PC World (US online)
Show Comments

Essentials

Lexar® JumpDrive® S57 USB 3.0 flash drive

Learn more >

Microsoft L5V-00027 Sculpt Ergonomic Keyboard Desktop

Learn more >

Mobile

Lexar® JumpDrive® S45 USB 3.0 flash drive 

Learn more >

Exec

HD Pan/Tilt Wi-Fi Camera with Night Vision NC450

Learn more >

Lexar® JumpDrive® C20c USB Type-C flash drive 

Learn more >

Audio-Technica ATH-ANC70 Noise Cancelling Headphones

Learn more >

Lexar® Professional 1800x microSDHC™/microSDXC™ UHS-II cards 

Learn more >

Budget

Back To Business Guide

Click for more ›

Most Popular Reviews

Latest News Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Azadeh Williams

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

A smarter way to print for busy small business owners, combining speedy printing with scanning and copying, making it easier to produce high quality documents and images at a touch of a button.

Andrew Grant

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

I've had a multifunction printer in the office going on 10 years now. It was a neat bit of kit back in the day -- print, copy, scan, fax -- when printing over WiFi felt a bit like magic. It’s seen better days though and an upgrade’s well overdue. This HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 looks like it ticks all the same boxes: print, copy, scan, and fax. (Really? Does anyone fax anything any more? I guess it's good to know the facility’s there, just in case.) Printing over WiFi is more-or- less standard these days.

Ed Dawson

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

As a freelance writer who is always on the go, I like my technology to be both efficient and effective so I can do my job well. The HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 Inkjet Printer ticks all the boxes in terms of form factor, performance and user interface.

Michael Hargreaves

Windows 10 for Business / Dell XPS 13

I’d happily recommend this touchscreen laptop and Windows 10 as a great way to get serious work done at a desk or on the road.

Aysha Strobbe

Windows 10 / HP Spectre x360

Ultimately, I think the Windows 10 environment is excellent for me as it caters for so many different uses. The inclusion of the Xbox app is also great for when you need some downtime too!

Mark Escubio

Windows 10 / Lenovo Yoga 910

For me, the Xbox Play Anywhere is a great new feature as it allows you to play your current Xbox games with higher resolutions and better graphics without forking out extra cash for another copy. Although available titles are still scarce, but I’m sure it will grow in time.

Featured Content

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?