Privacy and security

Internet Explorer 11 further advances consumer security while also introducing new platform capabilities for developers, including support for the W3C Web Cryptography API and new options for user-approved Do Not Track exceptions.

Do Not Track (DNT) exceptions

In order to enhance user privacy, Windows Internet Explorer uses "Do not track" (DNT) headers to request that websites avoid tracking users. As of IE11, a website can request an exception by asking permission to track users as they browse the site. If the request is approved (by the user), Internet Explorer records an exception to the "Do not track" rule and sends headers to the website that allow tracking.

By respecting these headers and requesting exceptions to the default privacy settings, website owners can inform users of their tracking and create opportunities to establish trust regarding the use of private information.

See "Do Not Track (DNT) exceptions" for more details.

Enhanced Protected Mode (EPM) on Internet Explorer for the desktop

Enhanced Protected Mode (EPM) helps prevent attackers from installing software, accessing personal information, accessing information from corporate Intranets, and from modifying system settings. Internet Explorer in the new Windows UI runs in EPM, and EPM is also available for Internet Explorer for the desktop.

To update your browser extensions to be compatible with Enhanced Protected Mode (EPM), see "Enhanced Protected Mode (EPM) on desktop IE".

Important  EPM is not supported in IE11 on Windows 7.


With IE11, consumers can choose to block all third party cookies for better control over their online privacy. While the (first-party) cookies issued by the websites you visit are typically critical for site functionality and usability, third-party cookies can be used by advertisers and other content providers across a large number of first-party sites in order to gradually build up a profile about your interests and purchasing habits.

To block all third-party cookies on both Internet Explorer in the Windows UI and Internet Explorer for the desktop:

  1. From Internet Explorer in the Windows UI, open Windows Charms on the side of the screen, and select Settings
  2. Select Privacy
  3. Under Cookies, turn on the option to Block all third-party cookies

Enabling this setting will:

  • Block all cookies (including session cookies) from third party sites.
  • Not affect first party cookies in any way.
  • Apply across all the Windows 8.1 devices you sign into using the same Microsoft account (if you have roaming enabled).

Important  This setting is not available for IE11 on Windows 7, however you can use the Advanced Privacy Settings menu (from Internet Options, select the Privacy tab and press the Advanced button) to override automatic cookie handling in order to block third-party cookies. Note that overriding automatic cookie handling also requires you to explicitly choose to Accept, Block, or Prompt for first-party cookies as well, so any preexisting first-party cookie settings you had (like the more finely-tuned settings adjusted according to your selected Low/Medium/High Internet zone settings (from Internet Options, Privacy tab) will be overridden.


Web Cryptography API

The W3C Web Cryptography API enables a number of important security scenarios for web apps. These range from robust user/service authentication, document and code signing, and the confidentiality and integrity of communications all without requiring a secure connection (through SSL or similar protocol).

See "Web Cryptography API" for more info.