How to use Microsoft Edge’s latest security and privacy features

How to use Microsoft Edge's latest security and privacy features

Edge users can now tap into a password generator, password monitor, and more. Here are the steps.

Image: Microsoft

With version 88, Microsoft Edge introduced several new features with security and privacy in mind. The latest version offers a built-in password generator through which you can receive suggestions for strong passwords. A password monitor will alert you if any of your saved passwords might have been compromised in a data breach. Edge’s InPrivate browser mode now offers a Strict setting that blocks ad trackers from following you. Plus, you can change the DNS provider for Edge to one that may provide greater security.

SEE: How to protect against 10 common browser threats (free PDF) (TechRepublic)

First, make sure you’re running Edge version 88 or higher. In Edge, click the ellipsis icon in the upper-right, move to Help And Feedback, and then select About Microsoft Edge. The app will either tell you that Microsoft Edge is up to date or download and install the latest update.

Password generator

A password generator can take some of the pain out of passwords by creating strong and secure ones for your online accounts. To use the password generator, two settings in Edge must first be enabled–Sync and Offer To Save Passwords. Click the ellipsis icon and go to Settings. In the Settings screen under Profiles, select the setting for Sync and click the button to Turn On Sync if it’s not already enabled. Make sure the option for Passwords is turned on and then click the Confirm button.

Go back to the Profiles section and turn on the switch for Offer To Save Passwords. The switch for Suggest Strong Passwords should then turn on as well.

Next, you must be signed into your Microsoft Account to use the password generator. Browse to any Microsoft page that requires a login and sign in with your account. Then go to any site that requires you to create a username and password. After you enter a username, Edge should automatically detect the password field and suggest a strong password. If you don’t like the password, click Refresh to generate another one. If you’re fine with the suggested password, click it to insert it into the password field (Figure A).

Figure A

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Password monitor

A password monitor can tell you if one of your online passwords may have been compromised. To enable the password monitor in Edge, go to Settings | Profiles | Passwords. Make sure the switch is turned on for Show Alerts When Passwords Are Found In An Online Leak. Edge will then check all your saved passwords to see if any of them have been leaked in a data breach. If so, the browser will display an alert, which you can either dismiss or view for further details.

InPrivate mode strict tracking protection

Edge’s InPrivate browsing mode removes your history for a particular website after you close that browsing session. Using the Strict option in such a mode goes further by blocking potentially harmful ad trackers as well as cross-site trackers.

To enable the Strict option, go to Settings and select the setting for Privacy, Search, And Services. Make sure Tracking Protection is turned on. Here, you can also turn on the switch for Always Use ‘Strict’ Tracking Protection When Browsing InPrivate, or you can enable this for each site individually.

To activate InPrivate browsing mode for a specific site, click the ellipsis icon and select New InPrivate window, or press Ctrl+Shift+N. At the InPrivate mode window, check the box to Always Use ‘Strict’ Tracking Prevention When Browsing InPrivate if necessary and then open the site you wish to use privately (Figure B).

Figure B

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Change DNS provider

By default, your browser uses whatever DNS provider is set up by your organization at work or by your ISP at home. For greater security, privacy, or speed, some people prefer to use an alternative DNS provider such as Google, OpenDNS, Cloudflare, or Comodo.

To point to a different DNS provider in Edge, go to Settings and then to Privacy, Search, And Services. Scroll down the page to the section for Security. Make sure the switch it turned on to Use Secure DNS To Specify How To Look Up The Network Address For Websites. Click the radio button to Choose A Service Provider. Click in the text field to Enter A Custom Provider. A list should then appear from which you can select a provider. You can also enter a different provider by typing the IP address for its DNS server (Figure C).

Figure C

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Cookies and site permissions

Finally, the latest version of Edge gives you tighter control over site permissions and cookies. Go to Settings and then to Cookies And Site Permissions. Under Site Permissions, review and manage the permissions for all sites as well as permissions for specific items such as location, camera, notifications, and ads (Figure D).

Figure D

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Select the option for Manage And Delete Cookies And Site Data.” At the next screen, you can opt to block all third-party cookies. Select the option to See All Cookies And Site Data. Here, you can view each individual site that has generated cookies and decide which ones to leave intact and which ones to delete (Figure E).

Figure E

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Also see

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