Enhanced Phishing Protection on Windows 11: How does it work?

Phishing Protection on Windows 11
Phishing Protection on Windows 11 / Photo by Philipp Katzenberger on Unsplash

Microsoft is constantly updating its operating system. Most of these updates focus on fixing bugs and patching up security issues. Lately, phishing attacks are one of many users' significant security issues.

For a long time, users have had to acquire third-party tools to help them stay safe against these attacks. However, the latest Windows 11 update has some significant improvements in this segment. This newest version is called 22HC, and the latest Windows Defender SmartScreen tool is the most crucial feature we will focus on today.

It is designed to keep all the user's passwords completely safe while preventing phishing attacks that focus on stealing your credentials.

Microsoft Defender SmartScreen tool

This tool serves as a means of Enhanced Phishing Protection. SmartScreen detects when users enter their passwords into websites, apps, or other means and automatically knows if that service has established a secured network with a reliable website.

If there is no secured connection, Windows automatically notifies the user. Sometimes, the user will receive a message to change their password or that the site is suspicious. Besides informing the user, the tool also alerts system administrators about the event to create a list of fake or malicious sites.

Phishing attacks are all about being subtle and making users enter their sensitive information without even realizing they are giving it away to someone else. That is why Microsoft has worked hard on delivering this update and creating a tool to fight such threats.

How this phishing protection works

This Enhanced Phishing Protection works hand in hand with Windows defender and protects all the passwords or saved phrases used for signing in. Here are the three ways Enhanced Phishing Protection helps:

  1. Notifications about malicious sites: When users enter their personal, school, or work passwords in their browser while on a fake or malicious site, the Microsoft Defender SmartScreen tool instantly alerts them about the danger. Apart from notifying them, the users are also asked to change their password right away to prevent the attackers from having any chance of entering their accounts.
  2. Messages about reused passwords: People often reuse personal, school, and work passwords, so they don't have to memorize multiple passwords. However, they don't know that this makes it easier for hackers to access all their accounts. In other words, if you use a single password and someone gets their hands on it, they can instantly compromise all your accounts. The new Enhanced Phishing Protection warns users when they are reusing the same passwords and suggests changing them.
  3. Password storage protection: Many people save and store their passwords in simple text editors like Word or Notepad. Even though this might seem like a good idea, these passwords are free for the taking, and anyone with some knowledge could access them remotely or directly.

The new Enhanced Phishing Protection warns users of where they might be storing their passwords unsafely and suggests deleting them.

Enhanced Phishing Protection's main advantages

Phishing is one of the main threats haunting internet users. However, unsecured connections are also vulnerable to denial of service and man-in-the-middle attacks. The latter could allow someone to intercept your unsecure connection and receive all web requests you make.

Therefore, you should consider fixing such unsafe internet connections with a VPN for Windows. A Virtual Private Network encrypts your connection to stop potential snoopers from reading your traffic. Furthermore, many VPNs also include protections against dangerous websites or ads.

Here are the benefits of protecting your connection and enabling phishing protection:

  • Protection against phishing attacks: Enhanced Phishing Protections tracks and monitors the sites and apps you are using and checks whether they are malicious or suspicious. The system is designed to keep a database listing all malicious sites and services to enable more proactive notifications that will let people know they are using phishing pages.
  • Easy management and customization: Enhanced Phishing Protection is designed to work together with both MDM settings and Group Policy. In other words, depending on your device, you can set up the system to display warning messages in case of specific events.
  • Flawless integration: This system is integrated into your Windows 11, so it can understand all user activities. When someone is typing in their password, the system will recognize this action and take the necessary precautions to ensure safety. Since the tool has excellent insight into what is happening at the OS level, it can recognize threats and security gaps when using your passwords. Since this is a tool created by Microsoft, there is no risk of miscommunication between the service and the operating system.
  • Constant improvement: Enhanced Phishing Protection constantly learns from phishing attacks all around the world. It directly communicates with the Microsoft security stack and works with other security products to establish a layered protection system. It learns constantly and adds URLs and apps to the list of malicious services.

Bottom line

We are glad Microsoft released this recent update and finally created a native phishing protection solution. Still, even though this tool can help in many ways, it is always a good idea to boost your security and practice safe conduct online.

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