SmartScreen Filter helps you avoid threats such as phishing sites and online fraud when you browse the web.
Phishing is one of the most widespread online scams. Criminals set up a fake website and send emails designed to trick people into disclosing critical personal data, such as bank account or credit card numbers, passwords, or personally identifiable information. Phishing attacks and related scams cost individuals and businesses billions of dollars each year and erode public trust in the Internet.
SmartScreen Filter is a feature in Windows Internet Explorer, Windows Live Hotmail, and Microsoft Exchange Server that detects known or suspected phishing sites and steers you away from unsafe content. When the filter encounters a suspected phishing or malicious software site, it displays a warning—"This Web site has been reported as unsafe"—and prompts the user to return to his or her home page to resume browsing. SmartScreen Filter also checks for malicious downloads. If you attempt to download a file that has been reported as unsafe, Internet Explorer displays a warning.
Unsafe sites are identified by a series of steps:
- SmartScreen Filter checks the website against a list of high-traffic sites that is stored in your computer, and that Microsoft believes to be safe.
- If the website or download file address (or URL) is not in that list, its URL is sent to Microsoft for comparison against a frequently updated list of sites and downloads that have been reported as unsafe or suspicious. All information sent to Microsoft is encrypted on the client computer and transmitted using Hypertext Transfer Protocol Secure (HTTPS).
To improve the functionality and precision of the SmartScreen Filter process, Microsoft might store URLs and other information. Information sent to Microsoft by SmartScreen Filter is not used to identify or contact users.