How to Enable or Disable Protection Against Potentially Unwanted Applications in Windows Security in Windows 10
With Windows 10 version 2004, Microsoft has added a new security feature which can extend the protection level of the built-in Windows 10 antivirus called "Windows Defender", part of Windows Security. In addition to its default features of scanning for malware using definitions, it is possible to enable detection of potentially unwanted apps (PUA).
Potential Unwanted Application (PUA) usually refers to unwanted application bundlers or their bundled applications. These applications can increase the risk of your device being infected with malware, and can waste your time cleaning up the applications. Typical examples of behavior that is considered unwanted include ad-injection, many types of software bundling, and persistent solicitation for payment for services based on fraudulent claims.
How Microsoft Determines PUA
Microsoft uses specific categories and the category definitions to classify software as a PUA.
- Advertising software: Software that displays advertisements or promotions, or prompts you to complete surveys for other products or services in software other than itself. This includes software that inserts advertisements to webpages.
- Torrent software: Software that is used to create or download torrents or other files specifically used with peer-to-peer file-sharing technologies.
- Cryptomining software: Software that uses your device resources to mine cryptocurrencies.
- Bundling software: Software that offers to install other software that is not digitally signed by the same entity. Also, software that offers to install other software that qualifies as PUA based on the criteria outlined in this document.
- Marketing software: Software that monitors and transmits the activities of users to applications or services other than itself for marketing research.
- Evasion software: Software that actively tries to evade detection by security products, including software that behaves differently in the presence of security products.
- Poor industry reputation: Software that trusted security providers detect with their security products. The security industry is dedicated to protecting customers and improving their experiences. Microsoft and other organizations in the security industry continuously exchange knowledge about files we have analyzed to provide users with the best possible protection.
Windows Defender comes with built-in protection against such apps. Previously, you had to apply a Registry tweak to activate this feature. Now, Microsoft adds a new GUI to turn it on or off. It is also worth mentioning that Microsoft Edge uses the same technique to detect PUA when you are downloading files from the Internet.
To Enable or Disable Protection Against Potentially Unwanted Applications in Windows 10
- Open Windows Security.
- Click on the Virus & threat protection icon.
- Click on the App & browser control > Reputation-based protection settings.
- Enable the option Potentially unwanted app blocking to turn on this feature.
- Turn on or off the two options below it to block apps, downloads, or both.
- If you want to disable the protection against Potentially unwanted apps, then turn off Potentially unwanted app blocking option.
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