Microsoft has begun offering potentially unwanted application (PUA) protection in its anti-malware products for enterprise firms.
The news means that businesses will finally have an easy way of removing adware, browser hijackers and any other piece of software that deploys programs without the user’s knowledge or consent.
The PUA protection is now available as part of Microsoft’s System Centre Endpoint Protection (SCEP) and Forefront Endpoint Protection (FEP) and can be easily activated by system administrators. By opting in for protection, PUA software will be blocked at both download and installation time.
In a blog post, Microsoft’s Malware Protection Centre team said that PUAs can range from annoying to seriously damaging.
“These applications can increase the risk of your network being infected with malware, cause malware infections to be harder to identify among the noise, and can waste helpdesk, IT, and user time cleaning up the applications,” the team explained. “Since the stakes are higher in an enterprise environment, the potential disaster that PUA brings can be a cause of concern. Hence, it is important to deliver trusted protection in this field.”
Before implementing PUA protection, companies should first create a clear corporate policy that outlines what qualifies as a PUA and also inform employees about the changes, in the event that commonly-used applications become blocked. The PUA protection can also be implemented in stages to identify if any software is likely to be wrongfully identified as a PUA.
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While enterprise customers are sure to welcome the development, Microsoft’s consumer market will surely bemoan the fact that a similar service is not provided for home users. Many individuals have expressed their disappointment at the vast amounts of “bloatware” that comes pre-installed on devices, many of which are difficult to remove.
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