Another less known feature of Internet Explorer is that, not only it checks the websites you visit against a list of known malicious sites, but it also allows users to report malicious websites they encounter. In this tutorial, I will show how to report such websites and why it is good to report them.
Types of Malicious Behavior on Websites
When browsing the web, malicious websites you encounter are likely to exhibit one of these two behaviors:
- Use phishing schemes to steal personal information from you (e-mail, address, credit card, etc.). If you want to know more about it, check this article: What is phishing?.
- Convince or force you to download malicious software such as viruses, fake security software, keyloggers, etc.
- Try to run malicious scripts that infect your computer and allow for later installation of malware.
Reporting an Unsafe Website
Once you find an unsafe website, make sure you keep it loaded in your active tab and click on the Tools button found on the upper right corner of the Internet Explorer window. Alternatively, you can use the Alt+X keyboard shortcut.
Then, click on "Safety -> Report unsafe website".
This opens a new Internet Explorer window, which takes you to a Microsoft page titled Feedback.
Double check that the website being shown as reported is the same that you want to report. Then, check the appropriate box for what kind of malicious activity you think is going on, specify the language used on the website and complete the spam checker challenge.
Once you click Submit, your report is recorded and, later on, analyzed by someone from Microsoft’s security team.
Why Report Suspicious Websites?
Even if you use a non-Microsoft browser as your main browser, it is good to report malicious websites via Internet Explorer. Why? Because you will be a helpful Internet citizen, contributing to keeping the computing and browsing experience secure for other people.
If you report a real malicious websites, Microsoft will add it to its list of malicious websites (once analyzed), and protect other Internet Explorer and Windows 8 users. Users of other non-Microsoft browsers and operating systems will not be helped by your report though, as Microsoft provides protection via the SmartScreen Filter only for Microsoft products using this security feature.
I hope you found this article useful. If you know of other good ways for reporting malware, both from Internet Explorer and other browsers, don’t hesitate to share in a comment below.