Here are answers to some common questions about Internet Explorer SmartScreen Filter.
Online phishing (pronounced like the word fishing) is a way to trick computer users into revealing personal or financial information through an e‑mail message or website. A common online phishing scam starts with an e‑mail message that looks like an official notice from a trusted source, such as a bank, credit card company, or reputable online merchant. In the e‑mail message, recipients are directed to a fraudulent website where they are asked to provide personal information, such as an account number or password. This information is then typically used for identity theft.
The terms malicious software and malware refer to programs that pose a security or privacy risk by demonstrating illegal, viral, fraudulent, or malicious behavior. For example, viruses, worms, and Trojan horses are malicious software.
SmartScreen Filter is a feature in Internet Explorer that helps detect phishing websites. SmartScreen Filter can also help protect you from installing malicious software or malware, which are programs that demonstrate illegal, viral, fraudulent, or malicious behavior.
SmartScreen Filter helps to protect you in three ways:
It operates in the background as you browse the web, analyzing webpages and determining if they have any characteristics that might be suspicious. If it finds suspicious webpages, SmartScreen will display a message giving you an opportunity to provide feedback and advising you to proceed with caution.
SmartScreen Filter checks the sites you visit against an up-to-the-hour, dynamic list of reported phishing sites and malicious software sites. If it finds a match, SmartScreen Filter will show you a red warning notifying you that the site has been blocked for your safety.
SmartScreen Filter also checks files downloaded from the web against the same dynamic list of reported malicious software sites. If it finds a match, SmartScreen Filter will show a red warning notifying you that the download has been blocked for your safety.
Use of SmartScreen Filter is governed by the Microsoft Service Agreement. For more information, read the Microsoft Service Agreement online.
Internet Explorer displays this message when a suspicious website has some of the typical characteristics of an unsafe website, but is not on the list of reported unsafe websites. The website might be legitimate, but you should be cautious about entering any personal or financial information unless you are certain that the site is trustworthy. You can help Microsoft evaluate this website by providing appropriate feedback using the links provided in the message.
SmartScreen Filter uses an SSL (Secure Socket Layer) web connection to send website addresses to Microsoft. For more information about what data is sent and how it is used, go to the Internet Explorer Privacy Statement online.
You can check websites from Internet Explorer by following these steps:
Open Internet Explorer by clicking the Start button . In the search box, type Internet Explorer, and then, in the list of results, click Internet Explorer.
Go to a website that you want to check.
Click the Safety button, point to SmartScreen Filter, and then click Check This Website.
A reported unsafe website has been confirmed by reputable sources as fraudulent or linking to malicious software and has been reported to Microsoft. Microsoft recommends you do not give any information to such websites.
From the warning, you can choose to report this site as a safe site. Click the Report that this site does not contain threats link to go online to the Microsoft feedback website, and then follow the instructions.
Follow these steps to report a phishing website:
Go to the phishing website.
Click the Safety button, point to SmartScreen Filter, and then click Report Unsafe Website.
Use the webpage that is displayed to report the website.
No. SmartScreen Filter uses reputable information to alert you to phishing and fraudulent websites. In addition, website owners can contact Microsoft if their websites are mistakenly flagged as phishing sites. If a website tells you to ignore a SmartScreen Filter warning, do not ignore the warning and do not enter any personal or financial information.
SmartScreen Filter only blocks sites that have been verified as unsafe sites by reviewers at Microsoft or by employees at third-party data providers. SmartScreen Filter also offers a web-based feedback system to help users and website owners report any errors as quickly as possible. These reports are verified and mistakes are corrected.
Yes, corporate computer administrators and individual users can add websites to their list of trusted sites, and then turn SmartScreen Filter off for all websites in the Trusted sites security zone.
Navigate to the website that you want to add to the list of trusted sites.
Click the Tools button, and then click Internet Options.
Click the Security tab, and then click Trusted sites.
Click the Sites button.
The website address should appear in the Add this website to the zone box.
If the site is not a secure site (HTTPS), clear the Require server verification (https:) for all sites in this zone check box.
Click Add, and then click Close.
On the Security tab, click Custom level.
In the Security Settings dialog box, scroll to find Use SmartScreen Filter, and then click Disable.
Click OK, and then click OK again.
When the SmartScreen Filter service is not available, websites you visit during that time cannot be checked against an online list of websites that have been reported to Microsoft. The service is unavailable if your computer loses its Internet connection. Make sure you are connected to the Internet and try again. If you are connected to the Internet but you haven't updated Internet Explorer recently, you might have an older version that is no longer supported by the SmartScreen Filter service. To check for updates, click the Safety button, and then click Windows Update or download the latest version from the Internet Explorer webpage.
To turn off SmartScreen Filter, follow these steps:
Click the Safety button, point to SmartScreen Filter, and then click Turn Off SmartScreen Filter.
In the Microsoft SmartScreen Filter dialog box, click OK.
Follow these steps to turn on SmartScreen Filter:
Click the Safety button, point to SmartScreen Filter, and then click Turn On SmartScreen Filter.
Here are some quick tips that might help protect you from online phishing:
Be defensive about your personal information.
Navigate to trusted websites by typing the web address directly into the Address bar.
Never give out personal information in an e‑mail, instant message, or pop-up window.
Do not click links in e‑mail and instant messages from strangers or any link that looks suspicious. Because even messages from friends and family can be faked, check with the sender to be sure they actually sent the message.
Only use websites that provide privacy statements or information about how they use your personal information.
Routinely review your financial statements and credit history and report any suspicious activity.
Keep Windows and Internet Explorer updated. For more information, see Get security updates for Windows.
Turn on SmartScreen Filter.
Keep your computer's software updated and current. Both your operating system and your antivirus program should be updated on a regular basis.
Only download software updates from reputable sources. For Windows operating systems, use Windows Update. For other software, always use the legitimate websites of the company or person who produces it.
Always think before you install something, be sure to weigh the risks and benefits, and be aware of the fine print. Does the lengthy license agreement that you don't want to read conceal a warning that you are about to install malicious software?
Install and use a firewall. You can use Windows Firewall in Control Panel, or install an Internet security program that contains a firewall.
Immediately doing the following might help:
Change the passwords or PINs on all your online accounts.
Place a fraud alert on your credit reports. Check with your bank or financial advisor if you're not sure how to do this.
Contact the bank or the online merchant directly. Do not follow the link in the fraudulent e‑mail.
If you know of any accounts that were accessed or opened fraudulently, close those accounts.
For more information on how to help protect yourself online, visit the Microsoft security at home website.
File a report with the local police.
You can download the Microsoft Safety Scanner on the Microsoft website, which checks your computer for malicious software infections and helps remove any infections found.
This information applies to Windows Internet Explorer 8.
SmartScreen Filter uses an SSL (Secure Socket Layer) web connection to send website addresses to Microsoft. For more information about what data is sent and how it is used, go to the Internet Explorer Privacy Statement
Open Internet Explorer by clicking the Start button , and then clicking Internet Explorer.
Click the Safety button, point to SmartScreen Filter, and then click Report This Website.
When the SmartScreen Filter service is not available, websites you visit during that time cannot be checked against an online list of websites that have been reported to Microsoft. The service is unavailable if your computer loses its Internet connection. Make sure you are connected to the Internet and try again. If you are connected to the Internet but you haven't updated Internet Explorer recently, you might have an older version that is no longer supported by the SmartScreen Filter service. To check for updates, click the Safety button, and then click Windows Update or download the latest version from the Internet Explorer 8 webpage.
You can download the Microsoft Safety Scanner
on the Microsoft website, which checks for malicious software and helps remove any infections found.
See all support pages for Internet Explorer.
Ask a question in the