New Microsoft Edge gets Potentially Unwanted Application (PUA) protection - gHacks Tech News

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New Microsoft Edge gets Potentially Unwanted Application (PUA) protection

The latest version of Microsoft's upcoming Chromium-based Microsoft Edge web browser includes options to enable protection against Potentially Unwanted Applications (PUAs).

The feature blocks downloads of software programs that Microsoft Defender SmartScreen identified as potentially problematic.

Microsoft introduced a new protective feature in Windows Defender in August 2018 that would detect and block potentially unwanted programs on the system the security feature was enabled on.

PUAs include various types of software bundling, programs that inject advertisement into the browser or system, and "optimizer" programs that detect (mostly) superfluous issues on the system in an attempt to sell a premium version of the program.

microsoft edge new pua

The option in the new Microsoft Edge web browser works similarly. Microsoft added it as an experimental flag to the most recent Chrome Canary version; it is unclear at this point if the option will become available in the Settings directly in the first Stable version of Microsoft Edge and whether it will be enabled.

Here is what you need to do right now to enable it:

  1. Make sure you run the latest Microsoft Edge Canary version
  2. Load edge://flags in the web browser's address bar.
  3. Search for SmartScreen.
  4. Locate the "Microsoft Defender SmartScreen PUA support" flag on the page.
  5. Set it to enabled.
  6. Restart the web browser.

Enable PUA protection in Microsoft Edge

microsoft edge chromium pua protection

Now that the flag is enabled, it is necessary to enable the protection in Microsoft Edge. The flag unlocks the feature but it is still disabled by default.

  1. Load edge://settings/private in the browser's address bar.
  2. Scroll all the way down on the page to the Services group.
  3. Locate the option "Block potentially unwanted apps".
  4. Toggle the feature to enable it.

Microsoft created a sample site and application to test the protective feature. Just visit the PUA page and click on the link under Scenario to run a test. The download of the application should be blocked on the system

Closing words

It is unclear at this point whether it is really necessary to enable PUA protection in Microsoft Edge if PUA protection in Windows Defender is enabled. A quick test had the sample application flagged in older versions of the new Microsoft Edge as well on a system with Windows Defender PUA protection enabled.

PUA protection is not enabled by default in Windows Defender, however. Another explanation for this is that the new Edge is also available for other operating systems. Microsoft lists the Mac version as compatible for that particular flag.

There is always the chance that legitimate applications get flagged as PUAs, and that is the main reason why I prefer to keep the protective feature turned off. It may be useful to protect inexperienced computer users who would fall for these programs, however.

Now you:  What is your take on PUA and PUP protections in browsers and security programs? (via Deskmodder)

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New Microsoft Edge gets Potentially Unwanted Application (PUA) protection
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New Microsoft Edge gets Potentially Unwanted Application (PUA) protection
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The latest version of Microsoft's upcoming Chromium-based Microsoft Edge web browser includes options to enable protection against Potentially Unwanted Applications (PUAs).
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Ghacks Technology News
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Comments

  1. Amir said on September 22, 2019 at 9:26 am
    Reply

    I have disabled Windows Defender using Group Policy, and I have installed Kaspersky Internet Security.

    1. cryohellinc said on September 22, 2019 at 12:15 pm
      Reply

      Congratulations, here, have a cookie.

    2. owl said on September 22, 2019 at 1:43 pm
      Reply

      About “Kaspersky” and Kaspersky Internet Security,
      Kaspersky is involved in the former Soviet “KGB”.
      Its assets (Technologies and systems for monitoring the people) are now “Kaspersky Internet Security”.
      The current Russian President Vladimir Putin is the then KGB secretary and Kaspersky’s boss.
      Due to its background, Kaspersky use in public service is prohibited in the US, UK and Canada.
      In terms of privacy, Russian Kaspersky is much more risky than US-made Microsoft.
      Similarly, 360 Total Security made in China is also risky.

      1. ilev said on September 22, 2019 at 8:54 pm
        Reply

        “Russian Kaspersky is much more risky than US-made Microsoft.
        Similarly, 360 Total Security made in China is also risky.”

        Nothing is more risky than Microsoft, not even Android.

        Your smartphone is made in China.
        Your laptop is made in China.
        Your clothing is made in China…

        The KGB is long dead.

        I use Kaspersy which disabled Defender (the worse ever AV software in history).

      2. owl said on September 24, 2019 at 1:58 am
        Reply

        @ilev,

        I don’t have a smartphone.
        I don’t have a laptop, and there are no made in China parts in the main components of the tower PC.
        I never choose clothing made in China…!
        And our family, in principle, is oriented towards digital detox.

        Ostensibly “KGB” has been dismantled, but its essence has been inherited and has been reorganized and strengthened under the Putin administration.

        In Russia, since the Russian Revolution (Lenin regime), China has been restricted and suppressed individual rights since the Mao Zedong regime, and dissidents have been suppressed (killed).
        In recent years, both countries seem to be opening up their markets and democratizing, but the essence of “national control” remains unchanged.
        In particular, the current Putin administration is reminiscent of the “Stalin regime”.

        And it ’s important,
        I’m not saying “US-made Microsoft is better”.
        Made in the US is risky, but the Russian one is “Dark matter (has mass but cannot be observed directly optically: unidentified)”, so it is more risky than the US. It is an assertion.
        In short, I pointed out the nonsense of “the claim that Kaspersky is reliable and safe”.

      3. Anonymous said on September 22, 2019 at 9:47 pm
        Reply

        I’ve read about Kaspersky after reading owl, and from the New York Times (US newspaper):

        “The U.S. government, defense contractors and lots of U.S. companies won’t work with them,” said Peter Firstbrook, director of malware research at Gartner, a research firm. “There’s no evidence that they have any back doors in their software or any ties to the Russian mafia or state. It’s a red herring, but there is still a concern that you can’t operate in Russia without being controlled by the ruling party.”

        https://www.nytimes.com/2012/06/04/technology/cyberweapon-warning-from-kaspersky-a-computer-security-expert.html

        On the other hand, the same NYT US newspaper disclosed the Snowden documents proving that Microsoft cooperates with the US state mass surveillance. So I wouldn’t go as far as saying that “In terms of privacy, Russian Kaspersky is much more risky than US-made Microsoft.”, as public evidence has been provided for the latter but not yet for the former. But it is true that they are both proprietary software with deep access in the systems and based in countries that can force them to spy.

      4. owl said on September 24, 2019 at 2:21 am
        Reply

        @Anonymous said on September 22, 2019 at 9:47 pm
        But it is true that they are both proprietary software with deep access in the systems and based in countries that can force them to spy.

        That perspective is the core (point) !

      5. Microsoft Spyware Update said on September 23, 2019 at 5:16 am
        Reply

        Kaspersky is under constant scrutiny by western intel agencies, it is safer than any Microsoft, Google, or Apple product. US tech companies get a free pass to spy on the world from US intel agencies. There are all kinds of backdoors embedded in US software disguised as “bugs”. Every time a bug is found they add new ones. Did you think Microsoft is that inept that they can’t secure Windows from script kiddie exploits? Windows is purposely made insecure. Now I’m sure patriotic Americans are going to say that’s just a conspiracy theory, to that all I can say right now is keep watching and the truth about US tech companies and their involvement with the Five Eyes is going to be revealed to the world.

      6. Anonymous said on September 23, 2019 at 10:49 am
        Reply

        > Now I’m sure patriotic Americans are going to say that’s just a conspiracy theory, to that all I can say right now is keep watching and the truth about US tech companies and their involvement with the Five Eyes is going to be revealed to the world.

        You are many years late:

        https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Global_surveillance_disclosures_(2013%E2%80%93present)

        And this is something everybody with a brain knew before it was confirmed, given the technical and political situation.

        It is also already known that, intentional or not, the bugs are disclosed in priority to the surveillance agencies, where they can be exploited.

      7. owl said on September 24, 2019 at 2:29 am
        Reply

        👍

      8. Anonymous said on September 23, 2019 at 11:05 am
        Reply

        > Kaspersky is under constant scrutiny by western intel agencies

        What is funny is the kind of stupid reasons they used to justify banning Kaspersky from US government use in 2017:

        https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kaspersky_bans_and_allegations_of_Russian_government_ties

        Some NSA dumbass had the antivirus installed while having NSA malware code on his machine that he was working with. Kaspersky did what antivirus usually do: detect malware, and send a sample to the company. That’s bad for privacy, but that’s well known usual behavior for an antivirus, maybe just not well known at the NSA. The US press called that russian cyberwarfare (facepalm). Maybe next time the NSA will learn their lesson and disable telemetry on the software they use. It’s true that usually they must not really care because it’s US software that spies on them so they are their own surveillance endpoint… But logically, adopting the same standards, all governments should ban foreign proprietary software for government use, starting with Windows and Android, especially when Microsoft and Google have been proved to be used by the NSA for spying. Some places have switched to linux on desktop for reasons of national independence. And aren’t Russia and China developing their own Android alternatives ?

      9. owl said on September 24, 2019 at 2:30 am
        Reply

        @Anonymous said on September 23, 2019 at 11:05 am,
        👍

    3. ULBoom said on September 23, 2019 at 2:34 am
      Reply

      A complicated mess of a program that slows down everything in real life usage. Way too much redundant stuff included in it.

  2. Mik said on September 22, 2019 at 1:03 pm
    Reply

    I feel sorry for the people who using the betas. The have the illusion that the final version is going to be “light”. The final version is going to include all Microsoft’s crap inside.

  3. WorknMan said on September 22, 2019 at 1:55 pm
    Reply

    That’s a little ironic, since many people consider Edge itself an unwanted application.

  4. chesscanoe said on September 22, 2019 at 4:26 pm
    Reply

    Using Microsoft Windows [Version 10.0.18362.356] and Chrome Version 78.0.3904.21 (Official Build) beta (64-bit) , as well as latest Windows Security (aka Defender) with PUA enabled, appeared to download PotentiallyUnwante….exe but flagged it with “Failed – Virus detected” . Using Edge gave message “PotentiallyUnwanted.exe was blocked because it could harm your device” with the option to click DELETE, which worked.
    So to me for future Edge, the function is redundant, and possibly intended for non Windows Security full function users.

  5. PS Doff said on September 23, 2019 at 1:08 am
    Reply

    If this is the same Microsoft “Defender” that thought its own files were hostile and disabled them for more than a month, how could this possibly go wrong?

    There is a fundamental problem with OSs that need patches and add-ons to secure them.

  6. ULBoom said on September 23, 2019 at 2:29 am
    Reply

    Why? How many layers of protection for the same stuff is needed? In my crystal ball, I see any install attempt of a browser beside Chromedgium being flagged as a PUP.

  7. Amir said on September 27, 2019 at 4:03 pm
    Reply

    Kaspersky is among that best. It always ranked among the best in https://www.av-comparatives.org
    @owl:
    In short, I pointed out the nonsense of your carp saying “kaspersky is not reliable and safe”

    1. owl said on September 28, 2019 at 4:36 am
      Reply

      “In terms of privacy”,
      Russian Kaspersky is much more risky than US-made Microsoft.
      Similarly, 360 Total Security made in China is also risky.

      When this program is used, all the “personal information and actual usage history” that exists in the system will be collected.
      This telemetry cannot be rejected and can not take back.
      Your personal information will be shared and maintained by Kaspersky, “and will be permanently owned and managed by the Russian government”
      Similarly, a program made in China “collects and retains personal information in the future by the Chinese government”.

      Due to trade-offs with anti-virus,
      your personal information is “freely used” by these states.

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