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Microsoft Edge introduces feature to block ‘potentially unwanted applications’ like adware and cryptominers

Microsoft rolls out PUA blocking feature in Edge browser

Microsoft rolls out PUA blocking feature in Edge browser

Microsoft has introduced a new feature in its Edge browser enabling  users to prevent ‘potentially unwanted apps’ (PUA), such as adware and crypto miners, being downloaded onto their devices.

“Our customer feedback tells us that when users search for free versions of software, they often find applications with a poor reputation being installed on the machine at the same time. This pattern indicates that the user has downloaded an application which shows offers (or bundles) for potentially unwanted applications (PUA),” Microsoft said in a blog post.

Once enabled, Microsoft’s Edge browser will start blocking all the apps that it considers a PUA

The new feature has been introduced with Edge’s latest version, 80.0.338.0. It will be off by default, but users can enable it at any time by going to the “Settings” menu, choosing the “Privacy and services” section, and then enabling the “block potentially unwanted apps” option from “Services” section.

Once enabled, Microsoft’s Edge browser will start blocking all the apps that it considers a PUA. It will then display a notification telling the user that an unwanted app has been blocked from downloading.

However, if the user wants to keep that particular app on the device, they can choose “keep anyway” option from the ellipses menu to allow downloading the app.

Microsoft has also made it clear that PUAs like bitcoin miners and adwares are not malware, as such. PUA’s don’t necessarily harm a machine. Still they are unwanted as they usually slow down a PC and make the user less productive, and lead to a degraded Windows experience.

Microsoft said the new feature will now attempt to identify apps that come bundled with other apps. The company consider the following types of programmes as PUAs:

Cryptomining software
Advertising software
Torrent software
Marketing software
Evasion software
Bundling software
Software with poor reputation

The company also advised users to download software only from a trusted location and to also check the publishers’ reputation before downloading the app.

PUAs blocking feature is another effort by Microsoft to make web browsing secure for users. The new Edge browser also provides tracking prevention feature to enable users block undesired trackers from following them around the web.