A few years ago I started a page on how to tweak the Netscape browser to eliminate personal info leaks from the cache, history file, cookies, etc. Starting today (1/21/2001) I have decided to turn my attention to figuring out, how to secure a Micro$oft browser.
If you are looking for privacy tips using IE and Windoze then you will have to try some other site, but the Phaster Internet Explorer SearchBar is a tool that can help you find whatever you are looking for.
Since I discuss some of the privacy issues and concerns in other sections of what I have discovered about browsing on this site, I do not plan to go into in-depth detail on this page.
Have I lost my mind?
Besides I had to see for myself if the hype about Explorer 5.0 was true. Since this page is a work in progress, please check back every once in a while to see if I have discovered new Explorer secrets.
The startup screen
After explorer started up, I was pleasantly surprised that I could customize the browser tool bars and eliminate both the Favorites Bar and Explorer Bar (found under the view menu) so I could see web pages without a bunch of stuff in the way. It would be nice if my tweaked version of Netscape had easy to configure menu bars.
What I was disappointed about was not being able to select a local page on my hard disk as the default page, using (Edit/Preference/Web Browser/Browser Display/Home Page). My tweaked version of Netscape allows me to easily select a local start up page as my home page.
Basic Security Issues
To turn off Java Script and ActiveX in Explorer, uncheck the boxes (Edit/Preference/Web Browser/Web Content/Active Content).
To make sure Java is turned off, uncheck the Enable Java box (Edit/Preference/Web Browser/Java/Java Operations).
The History File
It seems if my folder was empty, Explorer replaced my empty History.html folder with a History.html file. To prevent Explorer from replacing my History.html folder, I put a locked or read only file in that folder (in my case I used a small gif, locked it by choosing the gif icon then selecting File/Get Info/ and then checking the Locked box, right under the file comments section).
This work around of securing the history of your browser, allows a user to view the history of sites visited while the browser is running, but automatically eliminates the data trail when you shut down.
What I found was a control panel, in other words if you remove the file Cookies from the Preference Panels folder you will discover that you cannot access the cookie control panel (Edit/Preferences/Receiving Files/Cookies). I really like the Explorer cookie control panel and I wish my older version of Netscape had this feature.
I eventually found that in Explorer 5.0 cookies are kept in the Internet Preferences file which also contains the Internet Explorer preferences settings, and file helper settings. Do not delete this file unless you have first written a record of all of these settings.
This simple tweak will prevent (as far as I can tell) Internet Explorer from recording cookies from sites you have been to after you shut down your machine. The draw back to this method is you must quit Internet Explorer, change the preference file Locked status if you want to change any browser preference.
Secure the Cache
To simplify the process I decided to make an Alias of Cache.waf file, then dragged the Alias into a wipefile program (Internet Explorer re-creates the cache file the next time you start Internet Explorer).
There is one other cache file named Download Cache which stores the file names and down load times of any file you get from the internet. Ya may want to erase this file if ya just happen to find an open port and use your browser to down loading files from an Aman (Israeli Military Intelligence) mainframe.
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