04:20 PM

5 Ways To Button Up Internet Explorer

We sniffed out five tools for Internet Explorer that can help lock down the browser and make online time at least somewhat safer.

Button up Internet Explorer? Is that laughter we hear?

After all, the technigentsia have long proclaimed that mentioning "IE" and "security" in the same breath is akin to oxymorons like "jumbo shrimp," "friendly fire," and "priceless junk."

But nearly 80 percent of the world's surfers use IE. They can't all be dim.

They're not, and neither is Microsoft, which after five years of resting on the laurels, so to speak, of IE 6, is updating the browser to version 7, both for Windows XP as well as for the upcoming Windows Vista. IE 7, promises Microsoft is more secure, and safer to use than the problem plagued earlier editions.

As in last week's "5 Ways to Bulletproof Firefox," we sniffed out five tools for Internet Explorer that lock down the browser and help make online time safe time (or at least safer).

We're still convinced that Firefox is more secure, especially when armed with extensions like the ones we detailed, but IE is a fact of life. And with these tools and tips, the "genuine imitation" jokes may sting a little less.

GreenBorder Pro: Border Patrol

When Windows Vista shows up this year and next, its IE 7+ will run in what Microsoft calls "Protected Mode," a scheme that prevents malicious code from silently installing. It's an added protection against spyware, adware, and drive-by downloads that won't come naturally -- or natively -- to IE on Windows XP, even with version 7.

Instead, you have to equip IE with a third-party add-on that mimics Vista's Protected Code. And while there are several strategies for doing that -- from using the "Run As" command in Windows to dropping user privileges to running a utility called 1-Defender -- the best solution is GreenBorder Pro, software that walls off IE from the rest of the system in a "sandbox" environment. While you're running IE within GreenBorder Pro, any changes made during the session, including malware or spyware installations, are rendered moot as soon as you quit the browser. It's like an automatic reset switch.

The biggest problem -- other than getting used to disabling GreenBorder whenever you want to install legit ActiveX controls and/software -- is the $49.95/year price tag. Fortunately, the company's extended its free year-long offer for all downloads done before July 28. Go for it.

Head here to get GreenBorder Pro.

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