SmartScreen filter in Windows 8

One of the common questions that many people might ask is how to know if an application is safe to install? In general we could call an application safe if it has the following characteristics:

  •        It comes from trusted source such as website which is trustworthy.
  •        It comes from trusted publisher.
  •        The trustworthy of publisher been verify
  •        Many users are using the application and there wasn’t any security issue

These are just some of basic but important characteristics of secure application. The challenging part is how do we verify these characteristics?

To do all these verifications, you should do some research. For example, ask people around you or search on forums about experience which users had when they use a particular website. If they download application from a website was it safe or it contains Malware (Virus, Worm, Trojan…)?

Do some search about publisher and check if the publisher is trustworthy and the application comes with digital certificate that the application comes from that company.

And there are other things that you should check to verify trustworthy of an application. In real world, most users just want to download and install software without doing research about it. Hopefully, technology is there to protect users.

In Internet Explorer 8, a new feature been introduced known as SmartScreen filter. It basically, checks the websites and if they were phishing websites (fake websites pretends to be real to steal user identity) or malicious websites (contains Virus, Worm, Trojan…), then block them. In addition, if user downloads something from a website which could be safe, it will scan the download and block it if it was Malware. During time, SmartScreen filter improved and it build into other Microsoft Technologies such as Hotmail, Outlook, Microsoft Office Outlook and others. In Internet Explorer 9, SmartScreen filter gets smarter. It also checks the reputation. For example, it checks how many people already download and use the application. If the application had been used by few people, it shows you a warning that not many people uses the application. If someone place a virus on the web and ask users to download it, then seems it will download by few people at the first, it will warn you and when application building reputation (more people download it), SmartScreen filter will check it for Malware and if it was Malware it will block it regardless of reputation. This technology is helping many people around the world and millions of Malware been blocked by this technology. In Windows 8, SmartScreen filter is build into Windows itself. Which means when you want to install an application in Windows 8, it will check the application for you, and if it wasn’t reputable one or it comes from a publisher which is not known or trustworthy it will let you know. It works even if you want to install a program from DVD, CD or Removable Devices. For reputation checking it needs to connect to SmartScreen filter through the internet and if you ware not connected to the internet, then you might need to do additional checking and decide whether run the application or not.

Other than SmartScreen, you have another feature known as Windows Store. Windows Store is NOT a security feature; however it will help you to protect yourself against Malware. It is a repository which contains software and applications that you could install in Windows 8. All applications in Windows Store been tested and they are trustworthy and safe. If you download anything from Windows Store it is safe.

In addition, Windows Defender in Windows 8 is Anti-Malware and Anti-Spyware and protects you against Virus, Worm, Trojan, Spyware, Adware, Rootkit and other threats.




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