As a reseller of Windows-related products and services, you are no doubt aware that Windows XP and Internet Explorer (IE) 6 contained some major security holes. Almost overnight threats like browser hijackers, dialers, and other types of Trojans that had previously existed in relative obscurity reached an epidemic status. Almost everyone with a Windows-based PC and an Internet connection has been infected with some kind of malware over the last couple of years.
This IE malware epidemic had a number of results. First, it inspired the creation of an entire antispyware industry. Antivirus products have existed for many years, but for some reason the various antivirus manufacturers initially seemed not to take the spyware problem seriously. Many antivirus products either ignored spyware altogether, or only protected against a handful of malware types.
In addition, the spyware epidemic caused Microsoft to take security much more seriously. Microsoft not only had a security problem, they also had a major public relations problem on their hands. Many industry analysts were beginning to recommend alternative operating systems or alternative browsers.
Microsoft responded by rolling much of the code that was originally intended for Windows Vista into Windows XP Service pack 2. Ultimately, Service Pack 2 for Windows XP did not turn out to be all that secure, but Microsoft was able to learn from its mistakes and fix various security problems before releasing Vista.
So what does this mean for you? Vista is by far the most secure Windows operating system that Microsoft has ever produced. Likewise, IE is the company's most secure browser. The problem is that the public has become very skeptical of Microsoft products in regards to security. The key to selling Windows Vista solutions to your customers may depend on your ability to convince them that the operating system and the current version of IE is secure. As such, it is important that you have a good understanding of the new IE security features and how they can be tuned to provide optimal security.
Configuring IE7 security on Windows Vista
General security configuration
The Phishing filter
International domain names, URL handling
ActiveX, Information bar, cross-domain protection
Security features on the Windows Vista version of IE7
About the author
Brien M. Posey, MCSE, is a Microsoft Most Valuable Professional for his work with Windows 2000 Server and IIS. Brien has served as the CIO for a nationwide chain of hospitals and was once in charge of IT security for Fort Knox. As a freelance technical writer he has written for Microsoft, TechTarget, CNET, ZDNet, MSD2D, Relevant Technologies and other technology companies.