4 tips for Safely Browsing the Internet

Basic internet safety is often ignored by people surfing the internet. You could be exposing yourself to dangers such as transmittal of confidential information to unsecured locations. You don’t want to be in that boat, so we’ve put together 4 basic tips for surfing the web safely. Use these tips to help protect yourself from prying eyes and malicious programs.


Microsoft continually provides enhancements and security updates to all its products, including Internet Explorer. While no program is 100% safe from harm, threats that are discovered can be fixed or patched through upgrades, updates, and service packs for the particular product. In order to help ensure a high level of security on your computer you must make sure to apply all updates.

Start now by making sure you are using the latest version of Internet Explorer. At the time of this writing, the latest version is Internet Explorer 8.0.7. To see what version you are using, open Internet Explorer, go to Help and click About Internet Explorer

A window will pop up that displays the latest version. Look here to ensure you have the latest version

about internet explorer

Click OK to close the window.

If you don’t have the latest version of Internet Explorer. Click Here to download and install it.

2. Setup Zones

By setting up Internet zones to meet your personal needs, your computer can help protect you as you surf the Web. Essentially, a zone is a region or grouping of Web sites, based on where they are physically located and how well you trust the source. These default zones are availabe in Internet Explorer 8.0.7:

  • Local Intranet — Web sites located on your local network. These sites do not have to communicate over the Internet to be accessed.
  • Trusted Sites — A list of Web sites that you trust not to harm your computer, such as sites you have identified as properly encrypted.
  • Restricted Sites — A list of Web sites that are known or suspected to be harmful to your computer.
  • Internet — All other sites that don’t fall under the other three categories.

You can tell Internet Explorer how to behave when it accesses a Web site within each of these zones. In Internet Explorer, go to Tools, click Internet Options. In the Internet Options box, click the Security tab.

internet options

When you select a Web content zone, you can change the security levels. For all but the Internet zone, you can add specific sites to a zone based on your personal requirements. And Custom Level allows you to enable or disable a variety of options based on personal preference. For example, you may want to allow automatic logons only to Web sites that are located in your Intranet zone instead of everywhere on the Internet. The User Authentication section of the Custom Level zone allows you to set that preference. Or, you may want to ensure your Pop-up Blocker is enabled. Custom Level is where you can ensure your security settings allow your blocker to operate.

Follow the prompts in the Internet Options dialog box in the zone you want to customize by either clicking Sites or Custom Level.

3. Easy on the Cookies

Cookies are small text files that websites store on your computer. A cookie can be used to store user ID, preferences, personalization options, or other information that is specific to you to help enhance your experience on that site. Here comes the but…

BUT, you don’t know what the cookie has been programmed to collect. And, you don’t know if the cookie is malicious or not. A malicious cookie can collect and store almost any information that you may not want it to store such as your name, credit card information, address, or more. Cookies make it possible for unwanted information to be stored and accessed repeatedly when you visit a malicious Web site.

By default in Internet Explorer, cookies are allowed for all zones except the Restricted Sites zone. However, if you want to limit cookies for a particular zone, here’s how you do it:

  1. In Internet Explorer, on the Tools menu, click Internet Options. In the Internet Options dialog box, click the Privacy tab.
  2. In the Settings section, move the slider up or down to adjust the settings.


Moving the slider up incrementally increases the Internet security on your computer, so that cookies are not accepted. Moving the slider down incrementally decreases the security, so that cookies are accepted. Check with the IT department for your organization if you are not sure which settings are appropriate to use.

Also in the Settings section, click Sites to explicitly set a cookie policy for individual Web sites. Here, you can specify which sites you want to allow or not allow to use cookies. Enter the desired Web site address in the Address of Web site text box. Click the Block button to block all cookies for the entered site, or the Allow button to allow all cookies for the entered site.

Continue entering settings for each specific Web site for which you want to set a cookie policy.

Click OK to return to the Internet Options dialog box. Click OK.

If you are concerned that you may already have cookies on your computer that contain personal information, you can delete cookies and other temporary Internet files by following these steps:

  1. In Internet Explorer, on the Tools menu, click Internet Options.
  2. Make sure the General tab is selected. (This is the default.)
  3. In the Temporary Internet files section, click the Delete button. You will be prompted for confirmation before continuing.
  4. The Temporary Internet files that you can delete are listed and selected for deletion by default, including Cookies. Clear the check box beside any temporary Internet file types that you do not want to delete.
  5. Click OK.

delete browsing history

4. Check for encryption before entering sensitive information on a site.

Encryption is a method that Web site owners use to help protect your sensitive information.

To Make sure that a Web site uses encryption where you are entering or viewing sensitive information. There are two ways to see whether a site uses encryption. One is a small yellow “lock” icon on the status bar of Internet Explorer. The other is in the Web address itself. If it begins with https:// (note the “s“), then the site is secure. Avantech utilizes advanced encryption methods to ensure your information is 100% secure.