Archive for the ‘ Browser Security ’ Category

InPrivate Browsing and On-Screen Keyboard

Another layer of security built into every Windows 7 operating system that is often overlooked by new and experienced users alike is Windows Virtual keyboard.

The on-screen keyboard allows you to enter data without touching a single key on your physical keyboard.  To access this feature, type “On-Screen Keyboard ” in the search box and select “Start On-Screen Keyboard” before you begin using InPrivate Browsing.

A few years ago the virtual keyboard would have been viewed as an inconvenience but now that everyone is texting these days, I believe it’s time has come.

With the virtual keyboard, I can do everything that I can do with a physical keyboard using the mouse to select the keys on the virtual keyboard.  This way, if there were a key logger installed on my computer that I didn’t know about, my financial security would not be compromised.

The complaint I typically hear from people who try this feature is “When I access my bank using InPrivate Browsing it always asks me for the answer to my security question and even after I click “This is a computer I use often – remember it” it doesn’t……why is that?”

That is because when you close the InPrivate Browsing window your history is not saved,  hence the “In Private” in InPrivate browsing.

Another complaint I typically hear from people who have tried InPrivate Browsing is “I access my accounts several times a day so InPrivate Browsing is just too inconvenient for me.”  Think about this for a moment “Which is more inconvenient, having to answer your security question every time you log in or trying to recover your life’s savings if your identity was stolen?”

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IE9 and InPrivate Browsing

We’ve all heard the saying “The only way to be safe is not to connect to the internet at all”.  I think in this day and age, you would be hard pressed to find someone who owns a computer that doesn’t access the World Wide Web for one reason or another.  Whether we go online to check our email, look for the best deal on an item we’re interested in or check our balance online, all of us run the risk of identity fraud.

Would you know if you had a key logger installed on your computer?  What can you do to protect yourself when going online besides the usual, firewalls and WPA2 encryption.  There is one more layer of protection that most users overlook or just take for granted.

Today’s modern Web browsers come equipped with some sort of Private Browsing capability. Internet Explorer 9 comes equipped with a feature called InPrivate Browsing.  Microsoft describes InPrivate Browsing in this way…..

InPrivate Browsing enables you to surf the web without leaving a trail. This helps prevent anyone else who might be using your computer from seeing what sites you visited and what you looked at on the web. You can start InPrivate Browsing from the New Tab page or the Safety button.

When you start InPrivate Browsing, Internet Explorer opens a new browser window. The protection that InPrivate Browsing provides is in effect only during the time that you use that window. You can open as many tabs as you want in that window, and they will all be protected by InPrivate Browsing. However, if you open another browser window, that window will not be protected by InPrivate Browsing. To end your InPrivate Browsing session, close the browser window.

While you are surfing the web using InPrivate Browsing, Internet Explorer stores some information—such as cookies and temporary Internet files—so the webpages you visit will work correctly. However, at the end of your InPrivate Browsing session, this information is discarded. The following table describes which information InPrivate Browsing discards when you close the browser and how it is affected during your browsing session:

Information How it is affected by InPrivate Browsing
Cookies Kept in memory so pages work correctly, but cleared when you close the browser.
Temporary Internet Files Stored on disk so pages work correctly, but deleted when you close the browser.
Webpage history This information is not stored.
Form data and passwords This information is not stored.
Anti-phishing cache Temporary information is encrypted and stored so pages work correctly.
Address bar and search AutoComplete This information is not stored.
Automatic Crash Restore (ACR) ACR can restore a tab when it crashes in a session, but if the whole window crashes, data is deleted and the window cannot be restored.
Document Object Model (DOM) storage The DOM storage is a kind of “super cookie” web developers can use to retain information. Like regular cookies, they are not kept after the window is closed.

What InPrivate Browsing doesn’t do
InPrivate Browsing keeps other people who might be using your computer from seeing what you visited on the web, but it doesn’t prevent someone on your network—such as a network administrator or a hacker—from seeing where you went.
InPrivate Browsing does not necessarily provide you with anonymity on the Internet. That means that websites might be able to identify you through your web address, and anything you do or enter on a website can be recorded by that website.
Any favorites or feeds that you add while using InPrivate Browsing won’t be removed when you close your InPrivate Browsing session. Changes to Internet Explorer settings, such as adding a new home page, are also retained after you close your InPrivate Browsing session.

Using toolbars and extensions in InPrivate
InPrivate doesn’t clear any history or information about toolbars or browser extensions that is stored on your computer. To help protect your privacy, Internet Explorer disables all toolbars and extensions by default in an InPrivate Browsing window. If you would prefer, you can do the following:
In Internet Explorer, click Tools, and then click Manage Add-ons.
Click Toolbars and extensions, click the toolbar or extension you want to use, and then click Enable.
Click Close.