Turn on network protection

Applies to:


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Network protection helps to prevent employees from using any application to access dangerous domains that may host phishing scams, exploits, and other malicious content on the internet. You can audit network protection in a test environment to view which apps would be blocked before you enable it.

Learn more about network filtering configuration options

Check if network protection is enabled

Check if network protection has been enabled on a local device by using Registry editor.

  1. Select the Start button in the task bar and type regedit to open Registry editor

  2. Choose HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE from the side menu

  3. Navigate through the nested menus to SOFTWARE > Policies > Microsoft > Windows Defender > Policy Manager

  4. Select EnableNetworkProtection to see the current state of network protection on the device

    • 0, or Off
    • 1, or On
    • 2, or Audit mode


Enable network protection

Enable network protection by using any of these methods:


  1. Type powershell in the Start menu, right-click Windows PowerShell and select Run as administrator

  2. Enter the following cmdlet:

    Set-MpPreference -EnableNetworkProtection Enabled
  3. Optional: Enable the feature in audit mode using the following cmdlet:

    Set-MpPreference -EnableNetworkProtection AuditMode

    Use Disabled instead of AuditMode or Enabled to turn off the feature.

Mobile device management (MDM)

Use the ./Vendor/MSFT/Policy/Config/Defender/EnableNetworkProtection configuration service provider (CSP) to enable or disable network protection or enable audit mode.

Microsoft Endpoint Manager (formerly Intune)

  1. Sign into the Microsoft Endpoint Manager admin center (https://endpoint.microsoft.com)

  2. Create or edit an endpoint protection configuration profile

  3. Under Configuration Settings in the profile flow, go to Microsoft Defender Exploit Guard > Network filtering > Network protection > Enable or Audit only

Group Policy

Use the following procedure to enable network protection on domain-joined computers or on a standalone computer.

  1. On a standalone computer, go to Start and then type and select Edit group policy.


    On a domain-joined Group Policy management computer, open the Group Policy Management Console, right-click the Group Policy Object you want to configure and select Edit.

  2. In the Group Policy Management Editor, go to Computer configuration and select Administrative templates.

  3. Expand the tree to Windows components > Microsoft Defender Antivirus > Windows Defender Exploit Guard > Network protection.


On older versions of Windows, the group policy path may say "Windows Defender Antivirus" instead of "Microsoft Defender Antivirus."

  1. Double-click the Prevent users and apps from accessing dangerous websites setting and set the option to Enabled. In the options section, you must specify one of the following options:
    • Block - Users can't access malicious IP addresses and domains
    • Disable (Default) - The Network protection feature won't work. Users won't be blocked from accessing malicious domains
    • Audit Mode - If a user visits a malicious IP address or domain, an event will be recorded in the Windows event log. However, the user won't be blocked from visiting the address.


To fully enable network protection, you must set the Group Policy option to Enabled and also select Block in the options drop-down menu.

Confirm network protection is enabled on a local computer by using Registry editor:

  1. Select Start and type regedit to open Registry Editor.

  2. Navigate to HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Policies\Microsoft\Windows Defender\Policy Manager\EnableNetworkProtection

  3. Select EnableNetworkProtection and confirm the value:

    • 0=Off
    • 1=On
    • 2=Audit

See also