In the real world, you usually have a pretty good sense of where the bad parts of town are, and how to avoid them after dark. On the Web, it’s not so easy. The most elegant-looking Web page may be a setup, a trick by sleazy hackers to install viruses on your PC.
Security zones are designed to limit the number of paths the bad guys have into your PC. They’re fairly confusing, which is why almost nobody uses them.
Under this scheme, if you have tons of time, you can place individual Web sites into different classifications (zones) according to how much you trust them. Internet Explorer refuses to download potential bad stuff (like those ActiveX plug-ins) from sites in the seedier zones. Your PC, sanitized for your protection.
For example, internal company Web sites, right there on the corporate network, are pretty unlikely to be booby-trapped with spyware and viruses (unless you have a really twisted network administrator). Such internal sites are automatically part of the low-security Local Intranet zone. If you maintain a Web site at home, it’s in that zone, too.
The rest of the Internet starts out in the very big Internet zone (medium security). As you browse, though, you can manually place sites into zones called Trusted Sites (medium security) or Restricted Sites (high security).
To see your options, choose Tools→Internet Options→Security from within Internet Explorer (Figure 14-12).
Figure 14-12. The Internet Options Security tab lets you control Internet Explorer’s ...