What's new with Internet Explorer 8?

Safety First with Internet Explorer 8

Hachamovitch points out that browsing the Web isn't just informative and entertaining -- it can also be risky. Many sites on the Web host malware. Malware includes applications that can harm your computer or make it vulnerable to attacks from hackers. The best way to avoid malware is to use safe browsing habits. But sometimes it's hard to tell if a site is safe or not. The Internet Explorer team tried to make it easier for users to recognize safe sites with some special features included in IE 8.

The key feature in the team's safety strategy is the SmartScreen Filter. The filter is an opt-in feature, which means users can choose whether or not to turn it on. It builds upon the phishing filter Microsoft designed for Internet Explorer 7. The SmartScreen Filter refers to a database of sites known to host malware. When you try to visit such a site, a warning screen pops up alerting you to the risks associated with that page.

Another safety feature is the new InPrivate feature. Similar to Google Chrome's "Incognito" mode, the InPrivate setting allows users to browse Web sites without retaining cookies or browsing history. This makes it more difficult for outside parties to track your browsing habits. While some people refer to this feature as "porn mode," there are plenty of reasons you may want to avoid leaving a trail. For example, if you are using someone else's computer to research private health information, you may not want to leave evidence behind.

Microsoft also built in an automatic crash recovery system to help prevent users from losing work due to a browser crash. This system isolates browser extensions for each tab -- Microsoft says that extensions cause 70 percent of all browser crashes. By isolating the extensions to each tab, IE 8 helps contain crashes. It also stores information so that you can return to your browsing once you reopen a tab or browser.