Information Computing and Technology Services

Web Browser Security

It is important to understand the functionality and features of your Web browser, whether it is Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome or Apple Safari, to name a few. Enabling some Web browser features may lower security. Often, manufacturers will enable features by default to improve the computing experience, but these features may end up increasing the risk to the computer and causing vulnerabilities.

Secure Your Browser

  • ALWAYS enable the pop-up blocker for each browser. If a program requires pop-ups be enabled (CommonSpot is a good example), there is an "exception" feature so that those site URLs are manually added. Often, a popup blocker is temporarily turned off when downloading necessary programs. Remember to enable it again after the download.
  • Never enable the “remember my password” feature of a browser. This option stores passphrases in a standard location on the computer – the same as writing it down and leaving it on your desk!
  • Internet Explorer has the option to automatically save a copy of an encrypted Web page to your hard drive. Since encrypted pages usually require a password, you could be saving a copy of your password to your hard drive along with the page, which is a bad idea. Also, the browser can auto fill your username and password after typing a few letters. To turn off these features:
    • Select Tools >> Internet Options from the menu bar.
    • Select the Advanced tab. From the Security section, deselect "Do not save encrypted pages to disk"
    • Select the "Content" tab. Click the Settings button under the AutoComplete category. Uncheck "Forms" and "Usernames and passwords on forms"
    • Click OK to exit the options manager
  • If you use Firefox:
    • Go to Tools >> Options >> Privacy Tab and choose, "Firefox will Never remember history"
    • Go to Tools >> Options >> Security - In the Passwords section, deselect all choices
    • Click OK to exit the options manager
  • If you use Safari:
    • Open Safari and click the settings icon; the options drop down. Choose Preferences
    • Click on the AutoFill tab
    • Uncheck all of the selections
    • Close the Preferences window

Clear the Browser Cache

"Broswer Cache" includes all the cookies and Web pages and other temporary Internet files automatically saved to your computer whenever you use the Internet. In theory, it's supposed to make your browsing faster to have these on hand, especially for sites that you visit often.

It is part of good computer "housekeeping" to periodically delete this cache. For instructions, visit the Clear Browser Cache page in the email website.

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