Just When I Was Warming up to IE7…

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I couldn’t get the first public beta release of Microsoft’s Internet Explorer version 7 to install on my PC.

I got an error that, evidently, was shared by enough others to warrant a notice on Microsoft’s site that the problem would be dealt with in the next release. It was, so when public beta 2 was released, I installed it. I was cautious at first, then found myself using it more and more. For the last two or three days, I haven’t even opened Firefox. Not once. And Firefox had become my default browser.

What I like at IE7 is that it incorporates much of what makes Firefox rock, plus it works on every site I visit. At least one out of 10 sites I view in Firefox require me to switch to Internet Explorer. There are also some flaws in Firefox that nobody I contact seems the least bit interested in helping me figure out. (For example, when I use the context menu to copy an image, Firefox freezes and I have to use the Windows Task Manager to shut it down.) It’s hard to believe, but tech support from Microsoft is tons better than Firefox.

But I’ve hit a snag. It has to do with the new measures built into IE7 to enhance Internet Explorer’s much (and justifiably) maligned security gaps. In its default state, IE7 offers a warning whenever you visit a site it suspects may be a phishing site. A window opens that warns you the site is suspicious and advises you not to submit any of your information.

Which is all well and good, except the page on which I discovered this feature was one I was testing for my religious institution, for which I am the volunteer webmaster. We’re in the midst of a complete overhaul of the site, including the implementation of a content management system and a members-only area. The password-protected members-only page includes a membership directory. It’s after you type in your request and hit the submit button that the pop-up appears.

Okay, I thought. There’s also a link you can use to notify Microsoft that this isn’t a phishing page, so I used it. I explained that this was a local house of worship with a congregation, that this was a membership database, and as the webmasster I’d appreciate having the site not produce this warning. After all, we have a lot of older congregants (yes, even older than me) who aren’t that familiar with the web; I wouldn’t want this to frighten them off.

The email I got back told me they couldn’t do anything about it if the site was password-protected, but I was welcome to submit additional information, which I did. The email I got back today said

If the site you reported is not publicly accessible please see the following instructions for adding your site to your trusted sites list.

Adding the effected URL(s) to your list of trusted sites in IE:

1. From the Internet Explorer Tools menu, click Internet Options.

2. In the Internet Options dialog box, click the Security tab.

3. Click the Trusted sites icon, and then click the Sites button.

4. In the Trusted sites dialog box, enter the Web site URL in the Add this Web site to the zone box, and then click Add. The Trusted sites feature allows you to restrict trust to only sites that begin with https:. To include sites that begin with http:, including Microsoft Update, clear the Require server verification [https:] for all sites in this zone checkbox.

5. Click Close

6. Then under the “Security level for this zone: for Trusted Sties, click “Customer Level”

7. Scroll down to “Use Phishing Filter” and choose “disable”

8. Click OK

9. Finally, follow the instructions for clearing your IE cache instructions via the help topic within the Internet Explorer help menu.

Which is fine for me, but what about the 70-year-old congregant who visits the site? There needs to be a way for Microsoft to approve such content so the warning does not appear when the site is clearly not a phishing site. For now, I expect calls from the less tech-savvy of our membership wanting to know just what it is we’re up to.

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Shel Holtz is principal of Holtz Communication + Technology which focuses on helping organizations apply online communication capabilities to their strategic organizational communications.

As a professional communicator, Shel also writes the blog a shel of my former self.

Just When I Was Warming up to IE7…
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