Browser

Browser Configuration

Browser Configuration

One of the easiest “technologies” to keep your information and computer safe is properly configuring the security settings on your web browser.  Most people leave the settings at default because it’s convenient, but not taking those extra couple minutes now can mean many costly hours (or weeks) later if your information gets compromised.

Below are some setting suggestions and how to complete them on the most common browsers.  Settings may vary based on browser version, and we recommend always updating your browser to the most current version to ensure the most recent patches and security features are applied.

  1. Limit Cookie Storage
  2. Don’t Store Passwords or Allow Sites to Remember Your Form Entries
  3. Disable Pop-ups
  4. Limit Plug-ins and Add-ons
  5. Enable Automatic Site Checking
  6. Prompt for Downloads
  7. Clear Browsing Data/Temporary Internet Files

1. Limit Cookie Storage

Cookies are data files a webpage puts on your computer that tracks information about you.  Cookies can be helpful like remembering what item you put in your shopping cart while you continue shopping.  Cookies can also send data to third-parties that you are not aware of or keep your login data on a webpage on a public computer after you are done using it.  To help protect your data, we suggest changing your settings to initially block most or all cookies and only enable cookies for certain sites as you come across them. 

NOTE: First-party cookies (cookies for the domain you are on) help with the general web browsing feel we are all used to, for example, staying logged into your bank account site as you navigate from your checking to your savings account.  Therefore, blocking cookies entirely may not be ideal for your browsing needs.  Third-party cookies (cookies not specifically attached to the domain you visited) often are the cookies that contain issues and compromise data and can be blocked without interfering with you day-to-day web activities.

To configure cookies, select:

INTERNET
EXPLORER 10

Tools | Internet Options | Privacy | Advanced, and:

  1. Select Override automatic cookie handling.
  2. Select Prompt or Accept for first- party cookies and Block for third-party cookies.  If you select Prompt, it will ask for each site what you want to keep, which is helpful for limiting cookie use but will have a lot notifications.

FIREFOX 21

Main Menu | Options | Options | Privacy, and:

  1. Under History, select Use Custom Setting for History.
  2. Uncheck at least Accept third-party cookies.  You may instead want to uncheck Accept cookies from sites to block all cookies and enable individual cookies as you need to.
  3. Change the Keep Until value to I close Firefox so it won’t store first-party cookies after you close your browser window

SAFARI 6

Safari | Preferences | Privacy, and under Block cookies, select From third parties and advertisers.  You can also block all cookies if you wish by selecting Always and enable individual cookies as you need to.

CHROME 27

Chrome Menu | Settings | Show Advanced Settings.  Under Privacy click Content settings.  Under Cookies, set the following:

  1. Select Keep local data only until I quit my browser.  You can instead select Block sites for setting any data if you want to elect which cookies to allow as you visit each site.
  2. Check Block third-party cookies and site data.

OPERA 12

Main Menu | Settings | Preferences | Advanced | Cookies, and:

  1. Select Accept cookies only from the site I visit to disable third-party cookies.  You can instead select Never accept cookies if you want elect which cookies to allow as you visit each site.
  2. Check Delete new cookies when exiting Opera.

 

2. Don’t Store Passwords or Allow Sites to Remember Your Form Entries

Some webpages ask if you want to store information such as credit cards, usernames or passwords.  They may also give you the option to stay logged in or to “remember me.”  Having websites remember your information is like writing down a password on a piece of paper and sticking it on your front door.  Anyone who looks at the right door will see it.  To help yourself, be conscious of what you tell sites to remember and configure the following settings:

INTERNET
​EXPLORER 10

Tools | Internet Options, and:

  1. Select Advanced.  Then under Security, check Do not save encrypted pages to disk.
  2. Select Content.  Then under Autocomplete, click Settings and uncheck all.
  3. Select Privacy.  Then check Never allow websites to request your physical location.

FIREFOX 21

Main Menu | Options |Options | Privacy, and:

  1. Under Tracking, select Tell sites that I do not want to be tracked.
  2. Under History, select Use Custom Setting for History. Uncheck Remember my browsing and download history.  Uncheck Remember search and form history.

Also select Main Menu | Options |Options | Security, and uncheck Remember passwords for sites.

SAFARI 6

Safari | Preferences, and:

  1. Select Autofill and uncheck all.
  2. Select Privacy and check Ask websites not to track me.

CHROME 27

Chrome Menu | Settings, and:

  1. Under Privacy, click Content settings.  Under location, select Ask me when a site tries to track my physical location.
  2. Under Passwords and forms, uncheck Enable Autofill to fill out web forms in a single click and uncheck Offer to save passwords I enter on the web.

OPERA 12

Main Menu | Settings | Preferences, and:

  1. Select Forms.  Uncheck Enable Password Manager.  Also do not enter any of the saved form data.
  2. Select Advanced |Security.  Check Ask websites not to track me.

NOTE:  If you would like to save your passwords because you created very strong passwords that may be hard to remember, we suggest an external password vault service that encrypts your password information locally and stores the encrypted information for you in the cloud.  Some popular ones are LastPass (https://lastpass.com/index.php), RoboForm (http://www.roboform.com), and 1Password (https://agilebits.com/onepassword).

 

3. Disable Pop-ups

Pop-ups are generally advertisements or other little windows that force you to pay attention to them before you can get back to the webpage you are on.  This is a great advertising gimmick, but it’s also dangerous because a malicious pop-up may have a virus download on all links within the pop-up, including the Ok and Cancel buttons.  Crafty popups even make it so the X at the top of the window to close it contains a virus download.  Pop-ups may also take you to sites that can phish your information or otherwise trick you into putting yourself at risk.

Smart web developers have learned to not put content in pop-ups, so blocking all pop-ups should not negatively affect your browsing experience.  You can always allow certain pop-ups as you go if you need them.  Block all pop-ups by selecting:

INTERNET
​EXPLORER 10

Tools | Internet Options | Privacy, and check Turn on Pop-up Blocker.

FIREFOX 21

Main Menu | Options | Options | Content, and click Block pop-up windows.

SAFARI 6

Safari | Preferences | Security, and check Block pop-up windows.

CHROME 27

Chrome Menu | Settings, under Privacy click Content settings.  Select Do not allow any site to show pop-ups.

OPERA 12

Main Menu |Settings |Preferences |General, and select Block all pop-ups

 

4. Limit Plug-ins and Add-ons

Downloaded toolbars, plug-ins and add-ons can be helpful for enhancing your browsing experience, but the more items you attach to your browser, the more possible vulnerabilities there are for an attacker to exploit.  Additionally, attackers may use Active X, JavaScript, VBScript, and Java to run malicious code on a website without your knowledge.   Unfortunately, many legitimate pages use JavaScript as part of their functionality.  Limiting these types of scripts, though, can help protect you from a surprise malware download.  We suggest blocking most or all and enabling individual sites as you go by performing the following:

INTERNET
​EXPLORER 10

Tools | Internet Options | Advanced.  Under Browsing, uncheck Enable third-party browser extensions (add-ons).

You will also want to select Security and click the Internet icon. Change the setting to High for the “Internet” zone.  Click the Trusted Sites icon and set this to Medium.  Add sites to the Trusted list as you go.

FIREFOX 21

Main Menu  | Options | Options, and:

  1. Select Content and uncheck Enable JavaScript.  If desired you can keep Enable JavaScript checked, but click Advanced and uncheck all to limit JavaScript actions.
  2. Select Security, and check Warn when sites try to install add-ons.

SAFARI 6

Safari | Preferences | Security, and uncheck Enable JavaScript, uncheck Allow Java, and uncheck Allow all other plug-ins.

CHROME 27

Chrome Menu | Settings. Under Privacy, click Content settings and:

  1.  Under JavaScript, select Do not allow any site to run JavaScript.
  2. Under Plug-ins, select Block all (you can instead select Click to play to be prompted).
  3.  Under Unsandboxed plug-in access, select Ask me when a site wants to use a plug-in to access my computer.

OPERA 12

Main Menu | Settings |Preferences | Advanced | Content, and uncheck Enable JavaScript, uncheck Enable Java, and uncheck Enable plug-Ins.  If desired you can keep Enable JavaScript checked, but click JavaScript Options and uncheck all to limit JavaScript actions.

 

5. Enable Automatic Site Checking

Automatic Site Checking or other filters such as this will check webpages you visit against known fraudulent or malicious websites (a blacklist) and warns or blocks you before loading the page.  These features may also scan webpages for suspicious characteristics and flag you of potentially hazardous sites (which can be added to the blacklist if need be).

INTERNET
​EXPLORER 10

This feature is automatically on.  To verify that it’s on, select Tools |Safety | Turn on SmartScreen Filter.

FIREFOX 21

Must be turned on by selecting Main Menu | Options | Options | Security.  Check Block reported attack sites and check Block reported web forgeries.

SAFARI 6

This feature is automatically on.  To verify that it’s on, select Safari | Preferences | Security, and check Warn when visiting a fraudulent website.

CHROME 27

This feature may be automatically on.  To verify that it’s on, select Chrome Menu | Settings, and under Privacy check Enable phishing/malware protection.

OPERA 12

This feature is automatically on.  To verify that it’s on, select Main Menu | Settings | Preferences | Advanced | Security and check Enable Fraud and Malware Protection

 

6. Prompt for Downloads

The Automatic Site checking mentioned above can help review downloads for malware, but there are other settings you can configure that can help alert when something is about to download in case you accidently click a link and realize you shouldn’t be downloading that item.  Even just prompting you to tell the browser where to save the file can make you pause and think about what you are downloading.  You should always be careful what you download and from where, and scan all email attachments and downloads with your anti-virus software.

INTERNET
​EXPLORER 10

Tools | Internet Options | Security |Custom Level.  Under Downloads, select Enable for Automatic prompting for file downloads.

FIREFOX 21

Main Menu | Options | Options | Main, and under Downloads check Always ask me where to save files.

SAFARI 6

Safari | Preferences | General and uncheck Open “safe” files after downloading.

NOTE:  Just because Safari labels the file extension as “safe” doesn’t mean it actually is.  It’s also smart to open downloads only after the anti-virus scans them.

CHROME 27

Chrome Menu | Settings, and under Downloads, check Ask where to save each file before downloading.

OPERA 12

Main Menu | Settings | Preferences | Advanced | Downloads.  Here you can manage what to do for each type of file you may download.  For example, we recommend for EXE and BAT files to select Show the download dialog.

 

7. Clear Browsing Data/Temporary Internet Files

This removes all stored web data on your computer (cookies, cache, history, stored passwords/autofill data, etc.).  Since we just went through blocking new data from being saved, it’s smart to clear out any data that is currently there.   It’s also a good idea to repeat this step regularly to ensure any data that does still get saved, gets cleared.

INTERNET
​EXPLORER 10

Tools |Safety | Delete browsing history. Check the items to remove and click Delete.

FIREFOX 21

Main Menu |History | Clear Recent History.  In the dropdown, change the amount of time you want to go back (recommended: Everything).  Click the arrow next to Details, check the items to remove and click Clear now.

SAFARI 6

Safari | Reset Safari. Check the items to remove and click Reset.

CHROME 27

Chrome Menu | Tools | Clear Browsing Data. In the dropdown, change the amount of time you want to go back (recommended: The beginning of time).  Check the items to remove and click Clear browsing data.

OPERA 12

Main Menu | Settings | Delete Private Data.  Check the items to remove and click Delete.

 

Private Browsing Windows

Many browsers also have a feature that allows you to navigate the web without saving search history, form information, cached information, and some cookies.  While private browsing windows and tabs can be a start to keeping your information safe, it should not be relied on as a means to be “off the grid” or as a total replacement for the security settings mentioned above.

Browser

What It’s Called

How to Set It

INTERNET
​EXPLORER 10

InPrivate Browsing

Tools | Safety | InPrivate Browsing

FIREFOX 21

Private Browsing

Main Menu  | New Private Window

SAFARI 6

Private Browsing

Safari | Private Browsing

CHROME 27

Incognito Mode

Chrome Menu  | New Incognito Window

OPERA 12

Private Tab/Window

Main Menu  | Tabs and Windows | New Private Window

 

SECURITY NOTE:

Using these recommended security settings do not negate the effects of malware that could already be installed on your computer.  For example, keyloggers can capture your data even if your browser doesn’t save it.  Be sure to keep your anti-virus up-to-date and scan your computer regularly for threats.  These security settings also do not exempt you from phishing attacks.  Be careful what information you share online and never provide your password to anyone.  More details can be found in various sections of our Best Practices pages (http://www.rit.edu/security/content/keeping-safe).

Online Safety

Online Safety

Everyone connected to the Internet is a potential target. Use of anti-virus and firewall software is critical in protecting your computer online; however, simply protecting your computer is not enough. 

Web Browsers

Cyber criminals often target vulnerabilities in web browsers. Because Internet Explorer is the web browser used by most people, it has become a primary target. Using a different browser can reduce your risk while on the web. The table below lists alternative browsers:

Browser

Operating System

License

Firefox

Mac, Windows, Linux

Free (open source)

Chrome

Mac, Windows, Linux

Free

Opera

Mac, Windows, Linux

Free

Safari

Mac OS X

Free

Configure Settings

Changing the default security settings can help protect you while browsing.  Learn more here.

Update Regularly

It is important to keep your browser up-to-date on security patches. This can typically be done from within the browser, or directly from the vendor’s website. Check for updates at least monthly.

Note: If you use Internet Explorer with RIT Oracle Applications, you may not be able to use the newest versions of Internet Explorer are not certified for compatibility with Oracle at this time.

Use Limited Account Privileges

Learn more here.

Be Smart With What you Do Online

View our pages on Social Networking and Online Banking/Shopping.  Also look for posts on our blog about identity theft, online banking, and scams. 

Phishing

Phishing

Phishing is a form of social engineering where the attacker attempts to trick people into revealing private information by sending spoofed e-mails that appear to be from reputable companies. Phishing e-mails provide a link to a seemingly authentic page where you can login and reveal your username, password and other personal identifying information (PII)." Online scammers can then use this information to access your accounts, gather additional private information about you, and make purchases or apply for credit in your name.

General protection against phishing scams 

Safe practices

  • NEVER RESPOND TO A REQUEST FOR YOUR PASSWORD sent by e-mail, even if the request appears legitimate. RIT will NEVER ask for your password through e-mail.
  • Do not provide identity information, including credit card numbers, when you receive an unsolicited e-mail or phone call.
  • Do not open attachments in unexpected or suspicious e-mails or instant messages.
  • Do not click anywhere on the e-mail—even in what may appear to be white space.
  • Delete the e-mail or instant message.
  • If the e-mail or instant message provides a link to a site where you are requested to enter personal information, it may be a phish. The real link may also be masked. Move your mouse over the link and it may show a different address than the one displayed in the e-mail.
  • Be selective in what sites you provide with your RIT e-mail address.

Technical solutions

  • Use a limited or non-administrator account when opening e-mail and browsing the Internet. A limited account will help protect you against many malware attacks. Finance and Administration (and some RIT colleges) already protect their users by giving them limited accounts. 
  • Enable site checking on your browser.
  • Add an anti-phishing toolbar to your browser. Anti-phishing toolbars help detect and may block known phishing sites. ITS is providing McAfee anti-phishing tools to ePO-managed users.

Report a Phish

Report a phish by emailing spam@rit.edu.  You can forward phishing attempts to this email.

Resources to Help Identify and Avoid Falling for a Phish

Spear Phishing

Spear phishing targets a specific person or group of people (usually within a specific organization or government agency). Spear phishing e-mails are tailored to match internal communications at the target organization and may even include personal details.

Phishing in Instant Messaging

Although most phishing occurs through e-mails, fraudsters have begun using instant messaging to pose as government officials and trick people into revealing identity information.

Current Phishing Scams

Millersmiles.co.uk is an Internet community that archives phishing scams. Visit them to check if a particular e-mail or website has been reported by others, or report it yourself.

Anti-Phishing Tools

Internet Explorer 7.x and higher, Safari 3.2 and higher, and Mozilla Firefox 3.x and higher all provide some protection against phishing. E-mail clients such as Microsoft Outlook 2007 and Mozilla Thunderbird 2 also include anti-phishing features, such as disabling suspicious links and blocking pictures and attachments. As of August 1, 2009, all RIT-owned and leased computers must have some form of anti-phishing controls in place.

We recommend the following browser tools to help you identify suspicious websites:

  • The Netcraft Toolbar is a browser plug-in available for Firefox on Windows, Mac, and Linux. The toolbar helps stop phishing attempts by blocking known phishing sites and providing hosting information about the sites you visit.
  • The McAfee Site Advisor is a browser plug-in available for Internet Explorer and Firefox. Site Advisor warns you of websites known to have malicious downloads or links by checking them against a database at McAfee.

Note: You should not install this version of McAfee Site Advisor on any RIT-owned computer currently running McAfee ePO. More information can be found here.

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