Browser Security Safari 5.1

Many of the default settings in Safari are activated to protect you as soon as you open the browser, while others may require some modification depending on your preferences.

Privacy Options

Safari is designed to filter the data that outside parties can access as you surf the Web. Certain Web sites that you visit use your stored data to track where you browse, but you don’t have to let sites retain that information. Additionally, you can personalize your cookies (small files that Web sites store on your PC) and limit how often Web sites can request your physical location. To customize these settings, open Safari and click the drop-down arrow next to the Settings “cog” icon. Select Preferences and click Privacy. Under the Remove All Website Data button, you’ll see a number listed next to Websites Stored Cookies Or Other Data. To view these sites, click Details. Y can delete individual Web sites or all sites to reduce browser tracking. Select a site and click Remove to get rid of one site at a time; click Remove All to clear the entire list (alternatively, you can just click Remove All Website Data in the Privacy pane). In the same dialog box, there are three options to block cookies: From Third Parties And Advertisers, Always, and Never. Click the option you prefer. If you want to limit Web sites’ access to retrieve your location, click Prompt For Each Website Once Each Day, Prompt For Each Website One Time Only, or Deny Without Prompting. The Private AutoFill feature doesn’t automatically fill out online forms, unless you allow it to. But, this is a good thing. When you start typing your information in a Web form, Safari displays a drop-down field, giving you the choice to allow Private AutoFill to complete the form (using your personal information from Outlook or Windows Address Book) or fill it out one box at a time. You can configure your AutoFill Web forms by selecting the AutoFill pane in Preferences (via Settings). Safari will automatically fill forms using information from your address book card if you select the associated box. And when you select the boxes next to User Names And Passwords and Other Forms, Safari remembers your saved user names and passwords, as well as any Web sites that have stored your AutoFill data. Click the Edit button next to either option to remove the aforementioned information from each preference. Safari includes a third concealment feature called Private Browsing. If you’re using a public computer in a public workplace, and you prefer not to expose sensitive information to people who use the computer after you, the Private Browsing feature will protect your browsing history. (It won’t prevent Web sites that you visit from gathering information.) Safari will not keep track of Web sites visited, search history, or AutoFill data. To switch to this browsing mode, click the Settings icon and choose Private Browsing. Click OK in the Do You Want To Turn On Private Browsing? dialog box. Click OK. For the duration of your Private Browsing session, the Private icon appears in the Smart Address Field (the Address bar). To turn off Private Browsing, simply click the Private icon and click OK when Safari asks Are You Sure You Want To Turn Off Private Browsing?

EV Certificates

Some Web sites choose to add extra security (encryption or third-party verification) to their sites in order to protect against Internet fraud. For instance, financial institutions and other businesses want to ensure that customers who navigate to their sites will feel safe when entering sensitive data. The Safari browser supports EV (Extended Validation) certificates, so you can quickly recognize a legitimate Web site. To know if you’re at a site that’s been authenticated, look for the name of the Web site displayed in green on the right side of the Address bar. Click the name and the Certificate dialog box will open. The Certificate Information listed should include what the certificate is intended for, which site it’s issued to, which organization verified it (such as VeriSign), and how long the certificate is valid.

Reset & Empty

You can refresh Safari by actuating two settings: Reset Safari and Empty Cache. Reset Safari lets you erase particular items associated with your browsing patterns, whereas Empty Cache will clear memory (visited Web pages, images, etc.) if you want to remove the content Safari has saved. To locate both of these settings, click Edit in the Menu Bar. Select Reset Safari and the browser will ask you if you want to reset. You should see a checklist of items to reset; by default all of the items will be checked. Uncheck any you don’t intend to reset and click the Reset button. If you click Empty Cache in the Edit menu, Safari will prompt you to click Empty or Cancel.

Configure The Security Pane

The Security pane is accessible through the Preferences menu. You can use these settings to lock or allow Web content and adjust security warnings. When the box next to Warn When Visiting A Fraudulent Website is checked, Safari will always provide a warning message whenever you log on to a potentially counterfeit site. Next to Web Content, there are four boxes that include the following settings: Enable Plug-Ins,Enable Java, Enable JavaScript, and Block Pop-up Windows. By selecting the boxes, you are giving Safari permission to execute those commands. Enabling a plug-in expands Safari’s capabilities, such as displaying images and playing music and video that may appear on certain sites you visit. Enabling Java means you are letting the browser show interactive features and Web page animation through a program used on some Web sites. Enabling JavaScript confirms that JavaScript software (use for Web tools, forms, etc.) is allowed to function normally each time you visit a site that uses the software. If you regularly go to sites that make use of pop-up windows (and the windows are legitimate and safe), you can uncheck Block Pop-up Windows to view the content in any new pop-up window. Additionally, leaving a check mark in the Ask Before Sending A Non-Secure Form To A Secure Website box permits Safari to display a warning when a site hasn’t provided a secure form for entering sensitive data.

Common Protective Features

Not unlike most secure Web browsers, Safari incorporates phishing, malware, and virus protection. When you come across a site that’s deemed suspicious or that appears to be a malware conduit, the browser proactively identifies and warns you. In the case of phishing, the browser may even stop the page from loading. Safari will also alert your antivirus software to scan attachments that you download. Virus Removal Las Vegas

Report Issues

If you notice any glitches in Safari that are related to security settings or other features, you can notify Apple about them. Click the Settings icon and select Report Bugs To Apple. Enter the Web page URL, describe the problem, indicate whether you’re sending a screen shot or source to Apple, and then click Submit.
Smart Computing | October 2011 p.33

 

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