Internet Explorer 8 Security with SmartScreen Filter

As more of us depend on the Web for our daily activities, the number of sensitive information entering the internet grew as well resulting in greater vulnerability to cybercrime attacks such as malware, phishing, scams, and other forms of sophisticated threats. Does this mean that we have to stay away from the internet? Absolutely not!

Introducing SmartScreen Filter on Internet Explorer 8, a set of technologies designed to help protect the users against emerging threats, working to ensure users stay safe even as the online threats change and evolve. SmartScreen is “URL reputation-based,” which means that it evaluates the web addresses to determine if the sites are known threats.

This highest threat as reported on Microsoft Security Intelligence Report version 7.0 is Malware attack. When user navigated to a known malware distribution site, SmartScreen Filter will detect the URL and next trigger Internet Explorer 8 to block the entire site preventing the user from accessing the site by showing the screen below:

Figure 1: What you see when SmartScreen blocks sites that have been reported as unsafe.

The same action applies to known phishing sites too. You may have seen similar screen on Internet Explorer 7, but now, it has been redesign with a bolder look, and when you click on ‘More information’, it will tell you what is the reported threat and provides you links to help educate you about identifying and avoiding these kinds of attacks.

Nonetheless, malware is not limited to attacker created website; it may also be hosted on legitimate websites in a scenario where a legitimate site that has been hacked earlier and now it prompt user to download the malicious software. SmartScreen has the capability to perform “surgical block” where it blocks only the reported malicious downloads but not the whole site, since the site is legitimate. If you attempt to download the content that has been reported unsafe, SmartScreen will trigger Internet Explorer 8 to prompt a dialog as a layer of protection to prevent user from downloading the content into their computer. There is an option to download the reported content in the dialog, however, this action is not recommended.

Figure 2: What you see when SmartScreen blocks download that have been reported as unsafe.

SmartScreen filter works not only on reported Malware threat and phishing site, it can also detect more elaborated form of reported attack such as fake antivirus notification, which is actually a webpage that imitate the look and feel of commonly installed antivirus.

Beside SmartScreen filter, Internet Explorer 8 offers various security features that help you to browse the Web with the peace of mind. Find out more on how Internet Explorer 8 keeps you Safer Online here or download a copy to get a hands-on experience from

Comments (1)

  1. CodeRed says:

    Yeah, except it's been blocking hundreds of legitimate sites. Microsoft needs to either get it right, or not try.

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