- Microsoft has started offering potentially unwanted applications (PUA) protection in its anti-malware products for enterprise customers.
- PUAs include things like programs that deploy other programs without users' knowledge, inject advertisements into Web traffic, hijack browser search settings, etc.
- The new feature is available in Microsoft's System Center Endpoint Protection and Forefront Endpoint Protection.
Microsoft says system administrators can deploy PUA protection for the specific anti-malware product version in their organization through the registry as a Group Policy setting. PUA signatures are included in the anti-malware definition updates and cloud protection, so no additional configuration is needed.
PUAs have become an increasingly difficult challenge for the enterprise.
"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," researchers from the Microsoft Malware Protection Center said.
PUAs can also be accessed with employee mobile devices, and many apps contain them. According to Webroot’s 2015 Threat Brief, only about 28% of mobile apps on Google Play in 2014 were classified as benign.