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Chapter 7, Configuring MSIE

Setting/changing passwords

Log on to Windows as Admin. The setting up of multiple Windows logons for each family member is discussed in detail in chapter 4 of Child Safety-Net shown at left. If you have not set up multiple user accounts on your computer, just start out as the default user.

Open MSIE version 4.x, Click View | Internet Options. (In version 5.x it’s Tools | Internet Options)

In the Internet Options window, click the Content tab then the Enable button in Content Advisor.

You will need a password to enable or change settings. If this is the first time you are enabling Content Advisor you may be asked to confirm the password a second time before proceeding. The password you enter here is separate from the password for your log-on but it’s okay to use the same one. In fact, I recommend it. Multiple passwords on the same system for different functions can get confusing.

Setting/changing viewable content

Now click the Settings button in the Content Advisor box.

This opens the Content Advisor window with the Ratings tab on top.

Highlight each rating category and select the level of filtering you desire by moving the slide bar. Here you are setting what users are allowed to see, everything up to and including the level you select. Next click the General tab. Make sure that users can not see unrated content by unchecking that box. You should also give yourself the flexibility of allowing content with your password in case your child bumps into content which you feel comfortable is safe. Just don’t let them see you typing in your password.

Note: One might expect that settings such as these only be accessible through the Control Panel which can have restricted access placed on it. Unfortunately, Microsoft doesn’t see it that way.

When you’re done changing the settings click OK, then OK again at the Internet Options window. Close MSIE and restart it. The new settings are now in effect. Understand also that the ratings override with password must be entered for every new page you attempt to view that is either unrated or does not meet the criteria set by the filter. Netscape allows overriding the filter for the remainder of a session by entering the password only once. Another big advantage over MSIE. Have I sold you on Netscape yet? No? Okay, then let’s talk about adding SafeSurf to your ratings filter.

Upgrading the filter to include SafeSurf

Open Dial-up Networking and make your connection to the Internet. Open MSIE (if not already open) and go to http://www.safesurf.com/iesetup/. Just follow the link Update Explorer at the site and you will be guided through the process of updating MSIE. The only funky thing you might run into is saving the SafeSurf.rat file using MSIE to the C:WindowsSystem sub-directory. MSIE wants to add a .htm extension to the file making it SafeSurf.rat.htm. It’s so typical of Microsoft to say in effect “There’s no need for us to ask you. We’ll just take care of this obvious mistake you must be making. Really, we INSIST!” (Okay, I’m done venting now.) The fix is to go to that directory after you download it, and with Windows Explorer rename the file from SafeSurf.rat.htm to just SafeSurf.rat. SafeSurf parameters are set exactly the same way as RSACi in the Content Advisor. (See above) What you set is the allowable content.

Other security considerations

Whether by coincidence, conspiracy or careless design, the Microsoft family of applications, and more specifically, Office, Outlook, and Internet Explorer, have been plagued with computer viruses that take advantage of security holes overlooked by their developers. The most recent virus as we go to press with this book is called “VBS/Bubbleboy.”

VBS/Bubbleboy is a NEW type of worm. Unlike previous worms transmitted through email, this new type of worm does not come as an executable attachment or Word document with a destructive macro. Instead, VBS/Bubbleboy infects PCs as soon as the transmitting email message is opened. This is a VERY significant innovation! Virus researchers have long assured the public that it is not possible to contract a virus or worm merely by opening and reading an email message. This is no longer true, and VBS/Bubbleboy marks the beginning of a more dangerous computing environment, made possible only by Active-X controls embedded in Microsoft code.

By stark contrast, we almost never hear of similar attacks to competing products written for Windows by other software vendors. Nor do computer viruses flourish in other operating systems the way they seem to in Microsoft operating systems.

Coincidence? Conspiracy? Carelessness? A combination? I have my views but mine is not to impose those views on you. Mine is to present the facts and let you draw your own conclusions. These are the facts and they are undisputed.

As someone who depends on Windows and applications written for it, one Internet bookmark I can not imagine living without I will share with you here.


If you prefer and elect to use the Microsoft family of products over their competition when ever possible, get to know this area well. Especially the “Security Bulletins” section. Don’t be too surprised when you see how large this area is. And do yourself one more favor. Subscribe to the free Microsoft Product Security [e-mail] Notification Service found at:


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