Earlier I mentioned that while IE7 was going to be one of the central features of Windows Vista, versions of IE7 had already been released for Windows XP and Windows Server 2003. All of the security features that I have discussed so far exist in all versions of IE7.
There are, however, at least two security features that are present in the Windows Vista version of IE7, but that will not exist in other versions.
The first of these features is isolation from the operating system (OS). The Windows Vista version of IE7 is designed in such a way that the only location on the hard disk that IE7 will be able to write data to is the Temporary Internet Files folder. The only way that Web content can be written to other locations is with explicit permission from the user who is accessing the site.
The other security feature built into Windows Vista is a set of parental controls designed to control browsing behavior. Previously, browsing behavior could be controlled through Internet Explorer's Content Advisor. There was a problem with the Content Advisor, though. In order for the Content Advisor to be effective, a Web site had to be coded to present a rating.
The Content Advisor still exists (and has even been extended) in IE7. However, Windows Vista contains a robust set of parental controls that can control access to content across many aspects of the OS (video games, music, etc.). These same parental controls have also been integrated into IE 7.
Internet Explorer 7 is full of new security features, but only a handful of these features are user configurable. That is indeed a good thing, because it means that the majority of the security features cannot be disabled.
Configuring IE7 security on Vista
Step 1: General security configuration
Step 2: Phishing filter
Step 3: Protection against international domain names, URL handling
Step 4: ActiveX opt-ins, information bar and cross-domain protection
Step 5: Windows Vista and IE7
ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Brien M. Posey, MCSE, MVP
Brien M. Posey, MCSE, is a Microsoft Most Valuable Professional for his work with Windows 2000 Server and IIS. He has served as CIO for a nationwide chain of hospitals and was once in charge of IT security for Fort Knox. As a freelance technical writer, he has written for Microsoft, TechTarget, CNET, ZDNet, MSD2D, Relevant Technologies and other technology companies. You can visit his personal Web site at www.brienposey.com. Copyright 2006 TechTarget
This was first published in September 2008