SmartScreen Filter is designed to help warn you about unsafe websites that are impersonating trusted websites (phishing) or contain threats to your computer. If you opt in to SmartScreen Filter, it first checks the address of the webpage you are visiting against a list of high-traffic webpage addresses stored on your computer that are believed by Microsoft to be legitimate. Addresses that are not on the local list and the addresses of files you are downloading will be sent to Microsoft and checked against a frequently updated list of webpages and downloads that have been reported to Microsoft as unsafe or suspicious. You might also choose to use SmartScreen Filter manually to verify individual sites with Microsoft. Additionally, if you download or run a program from the Internet, SmartScreen will check the program against a list of commonly downloaded and known unsafe programs to help protect you from running unsafe programs.
When you use SmartScreen Filter to check websites automatically or manually, the address of the website you are visiting will be sent to Microsoft, together with standard computer information and the SmartScreen Filter version number. To help protect your privacy, the information sent to Microsoft is encrypted. Information that may be associated with the address, such as search terms or data you entered in forms might be included. For example, if you visited the Microsoft.com search website at http://search.microsoft.com and entered "Seattle" as the search term, the full address http://search.microsoft.com/results.aspx?q=Seattle&qsc0=0&FORM=QBMH1&mkt=en-US will be sent. Address strings might unintentionally contain personal information, but this information, like the other information sent, is not used to identify, contact, or target advertising to you. In addition, Microsoft filters address strings to try to remove personal information where possible. When you use Internet Explorer to download a program, SmartScreen Filter will send the information above, along with information about the downloaded program, such as a file identifier (a “hash”), results from installed antivirus tools, and the program’s digital certificate information, if available.
Periodically, information about your usage of SmartScreen Filter will also be sent to Microsoft, such as the time and total number of websites browsed since an address was sent to Microsoft for analysis. Some information about files that you download from the web, such as name and file path, might also be sent to Microsoft. Some website addresses that are sent to Microsoft might be stored along with additional information, including web browser version, operating system version, SmartScreen Filter version, the browser language, the referring webpage, and information about whether Compatibility View was enabled for the website. A unique identifier generated by Internet Explorer is also sent. The unique identifier is a randomly generated number that does not contain any personal information and is not used to identify you. This information, along with the information described above, is only used to analyze performance and improve the quality of our products and services.
SmartScreen Filter can be turned on and off from the Internet Explorer Safety menu. For example, to turn on automatic checking of all websites:
Open Internet Explorer, click the Tools button, point to Safety, and then click Turn on SmartScreen Filter.
If you believe you have encountered an unsafe website, you can report it to Microsoft by clicking the Tools button, pointing to Safety, and then clicking Report unsafe website. When you report an unsafe website, some information will be sent to Microsoft, including the address of the site you are reporting, and the usage information described above.