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Chapter 7. Web Security (Opening the Vil... > Browser Security: Why Is It So Impor...

Browser Security: Why Is It So Important?

A browser is an application that lets you move about the Web, “browsing” pages. Since 1992 or 1993, when the first browser was written, this software has grown in complexity and become a central part of how people access the Internet. Browsers have also contributed to the need for increased computer security. As browsers do more work for users and interpret more data, they must do so with the right security. Each type of browser does its own thing about security, and not all browsers do all the same things or in all the same ways. To focus this discussion, I’m going to talk about Microsoft Internet Explorer (IE), because this browser is shipped with Windows (the primary focus of this book) and the market share of Internet Explorer is significantly higher than that of other browsers. Odds are that if you are reading this book, you use Internet Explorer as your browser.

Security Zones

Internet Explorer uses a concept called security zones to determine how some of its security settings will be applied. How do security zones work? The browser ships with four preset zones (Internet, Local Intranet, Trusted Sites, Restricted Sites) and each is set to a predetermined level (Low, Medium Low, Medium, High). In IE, if you click on Tools and then Internet Options and then select the Security tab, you can view the interface shown in Figure 7-1.


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