Microsoft Edge Security: Let’s keep going!

**DISCLOSURE: While I am contracted to Microsoft Corporation, I am not an employee. The articles that I write are not meant to represent the company, nor are they meant to represent me as an employee or spokesman for the company. As has always been the case, all articles on this website represent me and nobody else.

**NOTE: Leslie Falor is a Modern Workplace SME with the Microsoft FastTrack Center. Several weeks ago she offered to help me with my blog by proof-reading my articles. Her help has been invaluable! She knows much more about Microsoft Edge than I do, so I was a little sheepish to share my last article with her. She liked it… and asked if I wanted to go further. I invited her to prepare an article and this time I would proofread her article. For the record, I made much fewer corrections to her article than she usually does to mine! –MDG

Leslie is an IT Nerd Person, a proud Intergalactic traveler with a single spawn. She currently resides somewhere on this strange planet called Earth, enjoys space operas, Old Fashions… and deep intellectual conversations with intelligent beings.

As a Jack of All Trades, my job is to demo, advise and sometimes even dazzle customers with the more interesting aspects of all things IT. Today I will be adding to Mitch’s article on the Security aspects of Edge. For fun, let’s go a little deeper.

To really see Edge shine, let’s go back to that built-in tracking feature that protects users and restricts the ability of trackers to access browser-based storage as well as the network. To do this, open Microsoft Edge, then click on the ellipsis (three dots) in the upper right of the browser. Now click Settings. On the Settings page, click the Privacy, search, and Services section on the left-hand side of the menu.

Set the browser to strict. Leave this tab open, but now browse around the web to some of your favorite sites. Stay as long as you like, you really shouldn’t see a derogated experience. Once you have visited four or five sites, visit this site for some interesting results: Cover Your Tracks (eff.org)

Locate the Test Your Browser button and click it. Allow the test to run, it shouldn’t take long. Please note this is not meant to be a comparison against other browsers but just to show that the Tracking Prevention feature is actually working, and working well. Through this independent tool, we can see that Edge is doing a stellar job of doing what we asked, Blocking Trackers.

To truly see what Edge blocked, go back to that tab we left open where we set the browser tracking prevention to strict. Under that setting you should see Blocked Trackers, click there. This should show all the times that Tracking Prevention blocked tracking attempts and the sites that the tracking requests came from. Neat right?

Okay, so we spoke about tracking. Let’s get into some other fun things that come with Edge natively.

Browse to this page: Microsoft Defender SmartScreen Demo (msft.net)

Don’t worry, it’s harmless. There is a lot to cover here, but to keep this short I’m not going to go into everything. We will touch on the following:

Microsoft Defender SmartScreen

Block potentially unwanted apps

When clicking on the various links on the demo page, it will demonstrate the power behind the built-in benefits of SmartScreen. So how does Microsoft do it? Is it magic?

A multitude of factors contribute to the warnings that are displayed. Data is received from many sources such as intelligence models, data providers and even user feedback. All of this helps to identify what could be potentially nasty content. Another great feature of Microsoft Defender SmartScreen is it not only scans websites, but it also scans downloads too. So in both cases, if the content is suspicious, Defender is there to warn you.

Depending on the content and its reputation level, you may or may not have the option to access it or download it. This website allows you to safely investigate the various ways that Edge will notify you that a site, a file, or even an advertisement displayed on a site is safe, potentially malicious, or outright blocked due to a bad reputation.

I encourage you to click around and explore the behaviour on this site, read the various warnings and get familiar with what Edge combined with Microsoft Defender SmartScreen can do to make your browsing experience just a little safer, and that much more enjoyable.

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