SmartScreen Filter: Information for administrators and website owners

This information applies to Windows Internet Explorer 8.

Here are answers to some common questions about SmartScreen Filter.

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How does SmartScreen Filter avoid giving false warnings or incorrectly blocking websites?

To minimize false warnings or incorrectly blocked sites, SmartScreen Filter only blocks sites that have been verified as phishing sites or sites containing malicious software. SmartScreen Filter also offers a web-based feedback system to help customers and website owners report potential errors. These reports are verified by reviewers and false warnings are corrected quickly.

As a website owner or representative, how do I correct a warning or a block on my site?

You can immediately submit a request for a correction. SmartScreen Filter provides a web-based feedback system for customers and website owners to report potential false warnings or blocks as quickly as possible. From a red warning, click Report that this site does not contain threats. This will take you to a feedback page where you can indicate you are a site owner or representative. Follow the instructions and provide the information to submit a website for review.

What can I do to help minimize the chance of my website being flagged by SmartScreen Filter?

There are several things you can do that can help minimize the chance of your website being flagged as suspicious. Here are some of the best practices to use when designing your website:

  • If you ask users for personal information, use Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) certification with a current server certificate issued by a trusted certification authority.

  • Make sure that your webpage doesn't expose any cross-site scripting (XSS) vulnerabilities. Protect your site by using anti-cross-site scripting functions such as those provided by the Microsoft Anti-Cross Site Scripting Library. To download or get more information, see Microsoft Anti-Cross Site Scripting Library online.

  • Use the fully qualified domain name. All domains should reverse to actual domain names, not numeric IP addresses. This means a URL should look like “” and not “”

  • Avoid using the @ symbol before the fully-qualified domain name in your URL. The @ symbol is commonly used to create deceptive URLs and is therefore suspicious to SmartScreen Filter.

  • Don't encode or tunnel your URLs unnecessarily. If you don't know what this means, you probably aren't doing it.

  • If you post external or third-party hosted content, make sure that the content is secure and from a known and trusted source.

Is SmartScreen Filter configurable with Group Policy?

Yes, the SmartScreen Filter feature is fully controllable as part of Group Policy. If you are not using Group Policy, you can control sites through Internet Explorer security zones.

SmartScreen Filter interrupts the ability to navigate to and download from sites known to host malicious content. Users can elect to ignore SmartScreen Filter warnings and continue navigation. You can use Group Policy to prevent users from overriding SmartScreen Filter warnings.

You can also configure SmartScreen Filter not to check sites in the Trusted sites zone. By default, SmartScreen Filter checks these sites, but you can turn checking off for this zone. You can then add your own custom list of sites to the Trusted sites zone for your enterprise, including sites a company has decided are "safe" or "trusted." These sites are trusted locally by SmartScreen Filter and are never checked automatically.

Can I customize a list of trusted sites for SmartScreen Filter in Internet Explorer 8?

You can configure SmartScreen Filter not to check websites listed in the Trusted sites zone. By default, SmartScreen Filter checks these sites, but you can turn checking off for this zone by following these steps:

  1. Open Internet Explorer by clicking the Start button Picture of the Start button, and then clicking Internet Explorer.

  2. Click the Tools button, and then click Internet Options.

  3. Click the Security tab.

  4. Click the Trusted sites icon, and then click Custom level.

  5. In the Security Settings dialog box, scroll to find Use SmartScreen Filter, and then click Disable.

  6. Click OK, and then click OK again.

When you add websites to the Trusted sites zone, SmartScreen Filter will not check them automatically. For more information about adding websites to the Trusted sites zone, see Security zones: adding or removing websites.