Evaluate exploit protection

Applies to:

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Exploit protection helps protect devices from malware that uses exploits to spread and infect other devices. Mitigation can be applied to either the operating system or to an individual app. Many of the features that were part of the Enhanced Mitigation Experience Toolkit (EMET) are included in exploit protection. (The EMET has reached its end of support.)

In audit, you can see how mitigation works for certain apps in a test environment. This shows what would have happened if you enabled exploit protection in your production environment. This way, you can verify that exploit protection doesn't adversely affect your line-of-business apps, and see which suspicious or malicious events occur.

Tip

You can also visit the Microsoft Defender Testground website at demo.wd.microsoft.com to see how exploit protection works.

Enable exploit protection for testing

You can set mitigations in a testing mode for specific programs by using the Windows Security app or Windows PowerShell.

Windows Security app

  1. Open the Windows Security app. Select the shield icon in the task bar or search the start menu for Defender.

  2. Select the App & browser control tile (or the app icon on the left menu bar) and then select Exploit protection.

  3. Go to Program settings and choose the app you want to apply protection to:

    1. If the app you want to configure is already listed, select it and then select Edit
    2. If the app is not listed at the top of the list select Add program to customize. Then, choose how you want to add the app.
      • Use Add by program name to have the mitigation applied to any running process with that name. Specify a file with an extension. You can enter a full path to limit the mitigation to only the app with that name in that location.
      • Use Choose exact file path to use a standard Windows Explorer file picker window to find and select the file you want.
  4. After selecting the app, you'll see a list of all the mitigations that can be applied. Choosing Audit will apply the mitigation in audit mode only. You'll be notified if you need to restart the process, app, or Windows.

  5. Repeat this procedure for all the apps and mitigations you want to configure. Select Apply when you're done setting up your configuration.

PowerShell

To set app-level mitigations to audit mode, use Set-ProcessMitigation with the Audit mode cmdlet.

Configure each mitigation in the following format:

Set-ProcessMitigation -<scope> <app executable> -<action> <mitigation or options>,<mitigation or options>,<mitigation or options>

Where:

  • <Scope>:
    • -Name to indicate the mitigations should be applied to a specific app. Specify the app's executable after this flag.
  • <Action>:
    • -Enable to enable the mitigation
      • -Disable to disable the mitigation
  • <Mitigation>:
    • The mitigation's cmdlet as defined in the following table. Each mitigation is separated with a comma.
Mitigation Audit mode cmdlet
Arbitrary Code Guard (ACG) AuditDynamicCode
Block low integrity images AuditImageLoad
Block untrusted fonts AuditFont, FontAuditOnly
Code integrity guard AuditMicrosoftSigned, AuditStoreSigned
Disable Win32k system calls AuditSystemCall
Do not allow child processes AuditChildProcess

For example, to enable Arbitrary Code Guard (ACG) in audit mode for an app named testing.exe, run the following command:

Set-ProcessMitigation -Name c:\apps\lob\tests\testing.exe -Enable AuditDynamicCode

You can disable audit mode by replacing -Enable with -Disable.

Review exploit protection audit events

To review which apps would have been blocked, open Event Viewer and filter for the following events in the Security-Mitigations log.

Feature Provider/source Event ID Description
Exploit protection Security-Mitigations (Kernel Mode/User Mode) 1 ACG audit
Exploit protection Security-Mitigations (Kernel Mode/User Mode) 3 Do not allow child processes audit
Exploit protection Security-Mitigations (Kernel Mode/User Mode) 5 Block low integrity images audit
Exploit protection Security-Mitigations (Kernel Mode/User Mode) 7 Block remote images audit
Exploit protection Security-Mitigations (Kernel Mode/User Mode) 9 Disable win32k system calls audit
Exploit protection Security-Mitigations (Kernel Mode/User Mode) 11 Code integrity guard audit

See also