Internet Explorer’s ubiquity makes it an easy target for malicious programmers and hackers. Sometimes cracks in IE, such as freezes, crashes and popups can just be annoying, but other times you may be victim of a virus or spyware without knowing it. Spyware is a program designed to access your hard drive and send your browsing history or personal data to a third party.
Here are a few steps you can take to improve IE stability and security. the goal is to disable parts of IE that cause the security problems.
Go to Tools -> Internet Options, and select the Security tab. You will see a row of icons showing the levels of security levels IE works to, from the whole Internet, to Restricted Sites. The first thing you can do, is set the default security level to High by pushing ‘Default level’ and dragging the slider to High.
Select the Custom Level button if you want more control over your IE settings. You probably want to try the default High setting for a few days, and if you notice IE is too restricted with websites it opens, you may consider changing the setting or using the Custom settings.
To help the Default high security setting run smoothly, you can enter safe sites that you trust and visit frequently, by selecting the ‘Sites’ button in the Trusted Sites area of the Internet Options panel. This will open a new window for you to enter a list of your trusted sites.
Back to Internet Options, and the Privacy tab. This is where you control your cookies. Cookies are a small file that websites place on your computer to make your browsing easier and more personalized. If you’ve ever gone to your email login page and seen your email address and password already entered, you’re watching cookies in action. Cookies are generally fine, but can sometimes be malicious if you’re visiting a new website.
To screen the cookies that get access to your computer, select Advanced under the Privacy tab, and then choose ‘Override automatic cookie handling’. Next, select ‘Prompt’ for first and third party cookies. Now you’ll be alerted every time a website wants to put a cookie on your PC. If you find you get too many cookies prompts from sites you know and trust, you can come back and select Always allow session cookies. This means the cookies from sites you visit regularly will be accepted automatically, while yo will be able to check any other website that wants to place cookies on your machine.
If you want to block cookies from sites, you’ll see the Privacy Alert warning popup box come up and you simply select ‘Block Cookie’. Easy.
If you notice other issues with IE after following these steps you may need to download a recommended hard disk scan and check for free if hackers have targeted your browser.