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More reliable web defense

Written By published September 29, 2022

Modern web threat campaigns have become short-lived in nature, sometimes having an overall lifetime of just a few hours. These campaigns evolved from targeting generic broad audiences, to focus on smaller groups of interest with a higher likelihood of payout. Most campaigns use phishing. These changes in the phishing landscape make it crucial for phishing protection services to build intelligence into their products in a timely manner.

The Microsoft Edge and Microsoft Defender Smartscreen teams are improving their web protection services to prepare for web threats of the future. The Microsoft Defender SmartScreen team is adding new phishing sensors and leveraging more threat intelligence signals to expand our knowledge about the existence of these threats, and reduce the time needed to protect customers.

Browser open to a SmartScreen warning page, which reads "This site has been reported as unsafe," with options to "Go back" or expand a dialog for "More information."
Microsoft Defender SmartScreen protects users against phishing websites and malicious files by displaying visual warnings.

Starting in Microsoft Edge 103, users can navigate the internet with more reliable web defense thanks to the updated Microsoft Defender Smartscreen library that ships with Microsoft Edge on Windows. The updated SmartScreen library was completely re-written to improve reliability, performance, and cross-platform portability. These benefits are the foundation leading up to the security improvements that will increase our ability to protect users from emerging threats.

The updated library followed a rigorous quality-driven approach that placed our product metrics as the drivers of the release process. This update not only preserves the fundamental experience for our users, but it also improved our stability and robustness metrics.

For enterprise customers who experience compatibility issues and need to revert to the legacy Microsoft Defender SmartScreen, we added a temporary policy called NewSmartScreenLibraryEnabled. This policy will become obsolete in Microsoft Edge 108.

We would love to hear more about your experience with Microsoft Edge. Please continue to join us on the Microsoft Edge Insider forums or Twitter to discuss your experience and let us know what you think! We hope you enjoy the changes and look forward to your feedback.

– Bharat Kumar, Software Engineer, Microsoft Edge Fundamentals
– Andres Pico, Product Manager, Microsoft Edge Fundamentals