Browser Security

There is a good bit you can do to tighten the security of your browser by setting various Preferences. Here are my recommended Preference settings for several browsers:

Internet Explorer


Firefox is the latest browser from the Mozilla Organization. It's ready to use "out of the box" but it also is very extendable - see Tools > Add-ons > Get Add-ons > Search to download various applets.

Here are some key Options for Firefox:

Open the Options dialog by clicking the Tools and Options menu items.
Then set the following [X means check, _ means do not check; Red=Security, Green=Goodie]:

You should also read and follow the advice given at Configure Firefox's settings to strengthen security; I differ with this article only about whether or not Java is safe to enable.


Netscape is now obsolete. Do yourself a favor and upgrade to Mozilla or Firefox. Mozilla version 1.7 and Firefox 1.0 seem very stable.

If you decide to stick with Netscape, the settings for Mozilla mostly apply to NS 6.x and 7.x. Whatever version of Netscape you use, you must turn off Java and Javascript in Mail & News; and for NS 6x and 7.x turn off Plug-ins for Mail & News.


Mozilla is the Open Source browser upon which Netscape is based. But it is more user friendly than the commercial AOL oriented Netscape. You can install a spell checker for version 1.2+ from

Here are some key Preferences for Mozilla:

Open the Preference dialog box by clicking the Edit and Preferences menu items.
Then set the following [X means check, _ means do not check; Red=Security, Green=Goodie]:

There are a number of additional preferences in the Edit > Preferences dialog box. You can also edit your prefs.js file to change additional preferences.

Microsoft Internet Explorer

This information is current for IE 6.x - other version are quite similar, but the names of the settings may be different.

You are going to need to create custom levels for the 3 of the 4 Security Zones. To start, click the Tools and Internet Options menu items to bring up the Preferences dialog box. Click the Security tab. You will see 4 icons near the top of the dialog box.

  1. Click the icon, click Custom Level, and make your setting look like this. You might have already done this step when restricting scripting in MS Outlook Express. This disables Java, Javascript and Active-X for sites that you add to the Restricted Zone. Click the Sites button and add URLs from sites that have lots of popups, are non-commercial, that you visit but don't really trust, etc.
  2. To be really safe, don't run Active-X without being prompted. Click the icon, click Custom Level, and make your setting look like this.

  3. If you follow step #2 above, there are some sites where you will have to allow Active-X, and if you don't, the prompting will drive you crazy and they still might not work. Click the icon, click the Custom Level, and change the following:

    Click the OK button.

    Click the Sites button and un-check the checkbox at the bottom of the Sites dialog box that requires https: for all sites in this zone. Now enter the sites your trust (or are forced to trust).

    This list may become quite long - but you will be more secure as you surf the wild, wild web.

  4. While you have the Preferences dialog open, you might want to change your Advanced options as well. Here's how I have mine set currently.

Back to Leigh's Security Page
Back to Leigh's Home Page Site Map                   Site Search 

Permalink [] Hosted by
Leigh Brasington / / Revised 19 Oct 12