Application Reputation

On Thursday during my IE9 online talk I was asked to give more information about the inner workings of how Application Reputation works I promised I’d update my blog with further information… So here it is.

When I was a kid my mum would warn me, don’t cross the road at the end of the street. She'd tell me that so often that by the age of about six I just ignored it, by Six and a half I’d managed to get myself run over. If people continually repeat their advice, regardless of how good the advice maybe, it loses it’s effect.

This is the same issue many Internet Explorer users have when downloading files. Every time they download a file they are warned that the file may damage their machine, the advice is repeated so often that it loses it’s effect. Users repeatedly ignore the message and install regardless. Sooner or later malicious files find their way on to machines.

IE9’s application reputation is an attempt to fix this by only warning  the user when a file poses a high risk.

By using Application Reputation the average user will see a warning message 2-3 times a year rather than currently seeing one every time a file is downloaded.

When you download an application IE9 passes two pieces of Information to the Application Reputation service:  A file Identifier and if available, the the publisher information. On receiving this information the service checks these pieces of data against a database to see if the file has an established reputation.

Downloads are assigned a reputation rating based on many criteria, such as download traffic, download history, past antivirus results and URL reputation.  Reputation is generated and assigned to digital certificates as well as specific files.

If you plan to distribute a file on the internet and want to establish a reputation for the file, it’s recommend that you take the following steps:

Digitally sign your programs with an Authenticode signature

Reputation is generated and assigned to digital certificates as well as specific files. Digital certificates allow data to be aggregated and assigned to a single certificate rather than many individual programs.

Ensure downloads are not detected as malware

Downloaded programs that are detected and confirmed as malware will affect both the download’s reputation and the reputation of the digital certificate.

Apply for a Windows Logo

To learn more about the Windows Logo visit the Windows 7 Logo Program page on MSDN. This is a free process for signed programs that can help establish reputation for your download.

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