SmartScreen Filter For Windows: What is it? How Can I Turn It Off?

Microsoft originally included the SmartScreen Filter in Internet Explorer 8. Since then, the company has implemented the software into Windows 8 and subsequent version of IE. SmartScreen is designed to protect Windows 8 users from phishing attempts and malware as they browse the Internet. Such protection is built into the operating system and Internet Explorer browser. Therefore, users are protected at all times.

What does SmartScreen actually do?

SmartScreen offers active and real-time protection against phishing ploys, malware, and other security threats. As users browse the Internet, the program looks for common and known threats. Malicious links, or suspected links, are blocked before the browser accesses that URL. A user can proceed after reading the warnings if they trust the site. Likewise, email and downloaded programs come with similar safeguards.

Browsers and the download manager are protected by SmartScreen in Windows 8.

Links, emails, and downloads are blocked as soon as potential threats are identified. Application reputation helps protect users from downloading malicious files or programs. Fortunately, users are protected more so than with other programs because blocking occurs before a user is exposed to a given threat. The block list for SmartScreen is updated regularly, and users can remove trusted items from this list.

How successful is SmartScreen?

Independent testing has shown that SmartScreen is more accurate than competing security programs. For instance, a test with SmartScreen in Internet Explorer 9 and Windows 8 showed a 100% protection rate. Security software for other browsers resulted in far fewer malicious links and downloads being caught. No security solution is perfect, and SmartScreen is susceptible to various workarounds to avoid detection.

How To Turn SmartScreen Off In Windows 8

For users that don’t want SmartScreen, the program can be turned off in Windows 8. A person can either search for or open Internet Explorer. The user must then locate the Safety button to access the settings menu. At that point, SmartScreen Filter must be selected, followed by Turn Off SmartScreen Filter. An option is available here to turn the program on, too.

SmartScreen: An Effective Security Tool Overall

Most users should keep Microsoft’s SmartScreen Filter enabled for optimal protection. On the Internet, phishing scams and malicious downloads continue to increase in numbers. Not all alternative programs can provide better security measures than SmartScreen today. Only advanced users should even think about disabling this program in favor of another option.

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