A Guide to the Security Settings in Microsoft Edge

Microsoft Edge may not be popular as Google Chrome or Safari, but it is still quite an improvement over Internet Explorer. One of the main highlights of Microsoft’s new web browser is the focus on security features.

So how can you reconfigure Edge to make your online browsing a more secure experience?

1. Microsoft Defender SmartScreen in Edge

A lot of the security features in Microsoft Edge work in tandem with Windows’ in-built antivirus solution, Microsoft Defender.

Chances are you’ve already seen the Microsoft Defender SmartScreen in action. Essentially, it is a filter that prevents users from visiting untrustworthy or malicious websites. It also warns users when they download a potentially malicious file from the internet.

The SmartScreen cross-checks websites and files with Microsoft’s database of known threats. If a file has been downloaded enough times, and it hasn’t been reported by users or been flagged by Microsoft Defender, it is considered safe.

The functionality of the Microsoft Defender SmartScreen isn’t just limited to Edge. It is also integrated at an operating system level, and works with the Microsoft Store.

How to Bypass SmartScreen to Access a Wrongly Flagged Website

There may be cases when the SmartScreen incorrectly blocks websites. If you’re certain that a website is safe, then you can still access the website, though Microsoft doesn’t recommend it.

  1. On the Windows Defender SmartScreen prompt in Edge, click on More information.
  2. Now click on the Continue to the unsafe site (not recommended) option.
  3. The website will open as it usually would.

Additionally, you can also submit a report to Microsoft that the website was falsely flagged.

How to Switch Microsoft Defender SmartScreen On or Off

The Microsoft Defender SmartScreen is always switched on by default, but the setting can be toggled. It is recommended that you leave it enabled but if, for some reason, you do need to disable it, you can do so by following these steps:

  1. Open Microsoft Edge and click on the three dots on the top right-hand corner of the screen.
  2. In the dropdown menu, click on Settings.
  3. Now, from the navigation bar on the left, click on Privacy, search, and services. It can be recognized by a lock icon next to it.
  4. Scroll down until you find the Security section.
  5. Use the toggle switch next to Microsoft Defender SmartScreen to switch the feature on or off.

2. Managing Website Permission in Edge

Like all other browsers, you can manage the level of access you provide to certain websites in Microsoft Edge. This includes settings such as GPS access, microphone access, and webcam permissions.

Related: Website Permissions to Change in Google Chrome for Better Browsing

Usually, whenever you visit a website, it will ask for relevant permissions. But these settings can be managed later, and some access can be disabled without compromising on the functionality of the website.

For example, some video conferencing websites may ask for access to your location, in spite of it not being necessary.

How to Control Site Permission in Microsoft Edge

  1. Click on the three dots in the top-right hand corner of Microsoft Edge to open the options menu.
  2. Now, click on Settings.
  3. In the navigation bar on the left, click on Cookies and site permissions.
  4. Under Site Permissions > All permissions, you can change the global settings for all websites you visit.
  5. If you want to change settings for specific websites, click on All sites under Site Permissions.

An important thing to note is that when using incognito browsing in Microsoft Edge, your permission settings remain the same and settings such as location or microphone access may not be blocked automatically.

3. Microsoft Defender Application Guard in Edge

If you’re using the enterprise edition of Microsoft Windows or Microsoft Edge, you get an additional security measure called Application Guard.

Using this feature, enterprise administrators can define a set of trusted websites and all other websites are considered unsafe by Microsoft Edge. Whenever you try to open a website that isn’t on the list, Edge will open it in a secure sandbox that prevents it from infecting your computer if it’s malicious.

Related: How to Reconfigure Windows Defender to Better Secure Your Computer

This is a better alternative to completely blocking all other websites.

How to Enable Application Guard

  1. In the Start menu search bar, type “Control Panel” and open it from the search results.
  2. Ensure that Control Panel is set to View by: Category, and then click on Programs.
  3. In the Programs window, select Turn Windows features on or off. You will need administrator privileges to do so.
  4. From the list of features, scroll down until you find Windows Defender Application Guard and click on the checkbox.
  5. Click on OK and restart your computer.

4. Managing Tracking in Microsoft Edge

Most websites that you visit use trackers to find out more about your browsing habits. Ads for products you searched for may show up on the websites you visit, thanks to trackers, for instance. There are many ways to check whether someone is tracking you online.

Sometimes, malicious trackers may be injected into your computer that can cause a lot of harm if undetected. Fortunately, Microsoft Edge allows you to block certain trackers or block all of them altogether.

How to Block Trackers in Microsoft Edge

  1. Launch Microsoft Edge and open the options menu using the three dots on the top right-hand corner.
  2. Click on Settings. In the navigation bar on the left, select Privacy, search, and services.
  3. Under Tracking Prevention, ensure that it is switched on. You can choose from three modes: Basic, Balanced, and Strict.
  4. To add exceptions and allow trackers from certain websites, add them using the Exceptions option.
  5. To view blocked trackers and know the websites that sent them, click the Blocked trackers option.

Additionally, you can also enable the Send “Do Not Track” requests option for added privacy and security while browsing.

Setting tracking to Strict will provide a less personalized experience. In  some cases, you could also lose a bit of functionality in certain websites.

Stay Safe on the Internet

While Microsoft Edge has a lot of security features to enable safer browsing, most of it comes down to common sense.

There are a few common practices that you should follow for a safer experience on the internet.

Author: Manuviraj Godara

Source: Manuviraj Godara.” A Guide to the Security Settings in Microsoft Edge”. Retrieved From https://www.makeuseof.com/guide-to-security-settings-in-microsoft-edge/

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