Any file you download and run from the Internet, could potentially infect your computer with a virus. So, what's a teacher to do? First of all--relax. If you worry too much about viruses invading your school system, you'll limit yourself, and your students, from enjoying the greatest information revolution since Gutenberg's printing press.

Although IE4 includes some of the best security features available in a browser, nothing beats a teacher with good, old-fashion, classroom sense. Exercise these fundamental security precautions with your students, and your system will stay healthier, longer.

1. Install a good anti-virus program

This is a piece of software that will scour your computer for harmful viruses. Good ones are available on a 30-day trial basis from companies such as McAfee, but your school will likely have something similar available. Be sure to update and run your virus program on a regular basis because new bugs creep up all the time.

2. Keep personal disks away from school

Viruses can be passed from an infected home computer to the school computer via an innocent little floppy disk. Some of your students will have home computers and will want to bring floppy disks from home. Even though it may be hard to discourage your students from doing this--TRY. The alternative is to convince your students to be responsible virus hunters at home, but when was the last time everyone completed their homework assignment?

3. Judge before you download

If you absolutely need to download a program from the Internet, consider the reputation of the site before you do. If you know the company that created the program, then go ahead. If you're in doubt, see if the program is available from another source.

The default security settings in IE4 already lean on the cautious side. But, if you're tempted to fiddle with those security controls, here are two classroom settings to consider:


Fear of catching Web virus keeping you awake at night

Set Internet zone on High.

  • Your students will not be able to use Active X controls or download files.
  • Any Java programs that enter your computer will only have limited access to your files.
  • Your students will be warned when they send data over the Internet.

Set Trust Sites zone on Medium and add sites that you trust and use often.

  • Your students can enjoy ActiveX and Java from a collection of reputable Web sites that you choose.
  • Consider adding these sites to the zone: Microsoft / MSN
    Digital Education Network
    Discovery Channel
This is a good setting if your class only uses a few Web sites. They can fully enjoy the ActiveX and Java features offered by sites in the Trusted Zone, but they will be limited when they surf to general Internet sites.

A cautious info-junkie (like the rest of us!)

Set Internet zone on Custom. Disable file downloads and desk-top installations in the security commands window.

  • Your students can still use Active X controls and Java.
  • Your students will be warned when they send data over the Internet.
  • Your students cannot download files.

Use this setting if your class does a lot of Web surfing, but you don't want your students to download unnecessary files.

Wanna see more?