Device monitoring and reporting in the Microsoft 365 security center


Welcome to Microsoft 365 Defender, the new name for Microsoft Threat Protection. Read more about this and other updates here. We'll be updating names in products and in the docs in the near future.

Keep your devices secure, up-to-date, and spot potential threats in the Microsoft 365 security center.

View device alerts

Get up-to-date alerts about breach activity and other threats on your devices from Microsoft Defender ATP (available with an E5 license). Microsoft 365 security center effectively monitors these alerts at a high level using your preferred workflow.

Monitor high-impact alerts

Each Microsoft Defender ATP alert has a corresponding severity (high, medium, low, or informational). It indicates potential impact to your network if left unattended.

Use the Device alert severity card to focus specifically on alerts that are more severe and might require immediate response. From this card, you can view more information on the Microsoft Defender Security Center portal.

Device alerts severity card

Understand sources of alerts

Microsoft Defender ATP leverages data from a broad range of security sensors and intelligence sources to generate alerts. For example, it can use detection information from Microsoft Defender Antivirus and third-party antimalware. It can also use your own custom threat intelligence provided through the web service API.

The Device alert detection sources card shows the distribution of alerts by source. Track activity related to certain sources, particularly your custom sources. You can also use the card to focus on alerts coming from sensors that aren't configured to automatically block malicious activity or components.

Device alert detection sources card

From this card, you can view more information on the Microsoft Defender Security Center portal.

Understand the types of threats that trigger alerts

Microsoft Defender ATP sorts each alert into a category representing a certain stage in the attack chain or type of threat component. For example, a detected threat activity might be categorized as "lateral movement" to indicate there was an attempt to reach other devices on the network. The activity has likely occurred after attackers gained an initial foothold. When detected, a threat component might be classified broadly as malware or specifically as a specific threat type. Specifics include ransomware, credential stealing, or other types of malicious or unwanted software.

The Device threat categories card shows the distribution of alerts into these categories. Use this information to identify threat activity, such as credential theft attempts, that usually have higher impact than social engineering attempts. You can also to monitor for potentially destructive threats like ransomware.

Device threat categories card

Monitor active alerts

The Device alert status card indicates the number of alerts that haven't been resolved and may require attention. From this card, you can view more information on the Microsoft Defender Security Center portal.

Device alert status card

Monitor classification of resolved alerts

When resolving a Microsoft Defender ATP alert, your security staff can specify whether an alert has been verified as:

  • A true alert that identifies actual breach activity or threat components
  • A false alert that has incorrectly detected normal activity

The Device alert classification card shows whether your resolved alerts have been classified as true or false alerts. From this card, you can view more information on the Microsoft Defender Security Center portal.

Note: In some cases, classification information is unavailable for certain alerts.

Device alert classification card

Monitor determination of resolved alerts

Along with classifying whether an alert is true or false during resolution, your security staff can provide a determination. A determination indicates the type of normal or malicious activity that was found while validating the alert.

The Device alert determination card shows the determination provided for each alert.

  • APT: advanced persistent threat, indicating that the detected activity or threat component is part of a sophisticated breach designed to gain a foothold in the affected network
  • Malware: malicious file or code
  • Security personnel: normal activity performed by security staff
  • Security testing: activity or components designed to simulate actual threats and expected to trigger security sensors and generate alerts
  • Unwanted software: apps and other software that are not considered malicious, but otherwise violate policy or acceptable use standards
  • Others: any other determination that doesn't fall under the provided types

From this card, you can view more information in Microsoft Defender Security Center.

Device alert determination card

Understand which devices are at risk

Device protection shows the risk level for devices. The risk level is based on factors such as the type and severity of alerts on the device.

Device protection card

Monitor and report status of Intune-managed devices

The following reports contain data from devices enrolled in Intune. Data from unenrolled devices isn't included. Only Global Administrators can view these cards.

Intune enrolled device data includes:

  • Device compliance
  • Devices with active malware
  • Types of malware on devices
  • Malware on devices
  • Devices with malware detections
  • Users with malware detections

Monitor device compliance

Device compliance shows how many devices that are enrolled in Intune comply with configuration policies.

Device compliance card

Discover devices with malware detections

Device malware detections provide the number of Intune enrolled devices with malware that hasn't been fully resolved. A lack of resolution can be because of pending actions, a restart, a full scan, manual user actions, or if the remediation action was not successfully completed.

Device malware detections card

Understand the types of malware detected

Types of malware on devices show different kinds of malware that have been detected on devices enrolled in Intune. You can investigate each type in the Microsoft 365 security center.

Types of malware on devices card

Understand the specific malware detected on your devices

Malware on devices provides a list of the specific malware detected on your devices.

Malware on devices card

Understand which devices have the most malware

Devices with malware detections show which devices have the most malware detections. in the Microsoft 365 security center, you can investigate whether malware is active, who uses the device, and its management status in Intune.

Devices with malware detections card

Understand which users have devices with the most malware

Users with malware detections show users with devices that had the most malware detections. In the Microsoft 365 security center, you can see how many devices are assigned to each user and more information about each device and the type of malware.

Users with malware detection card

Monitor and manage attack surface reduction rule deployment and detections

Attack Surface Reduction (ASR) rules help prevent actions and apps that are typically used by exploit-seeking malware to infect devices. These rules control when and how executables can run. For example, you can prevent JavaScript or VBScript from launching a downloaded executable, block Win32 API calls from Office macros, or block processes that run from USB drives.

Attack surface reductions card

The Attack surface reduction rules card provides an overview of the deployment of rules across your devices.

The top bar on the card shows the total number of devices that are in the following deployment modes:

  • Block mode: devices with at least one rule configured to block detected activity
  • Audit mode: devices with no rules set to block detected activity, but has at least one rule set to audit detected activity
  • Off: devices with all ASR rules turned off

The lower part of this card shows settings by rule across your devices. Each bar indicates the number of devices that are set to block, audit detection, or have the rule completely turned off.

View ASR detections

To view detailed information about ASR rule detections in your network, select View detections on the Attack surface reduction rules card. The Detections tab in the detailed report page will open.

Detections tab

The chart at the top of the page shows detections over time stacking detections that were either blocked or audited. The table at the bottom lists the most recent detections. Use the following information on the table to understand the nature of the detections:

  • Detected file: the file, typically a script or document, whose contents triggered the suspected attack activity
  • Rule: name describing the attack activities the rule is designed to catch. Read about existing ASR rules
  • Source app: the application that loaded or executed content triggering the suspected attack activity. It could be a legitimate application, such as web browser, an Office application, or a system tool like PowerShell
  • Publisher: the vendor that released the source app

Review device ASR rule settings

In the Attack surface reduction rules report page, go to the Configuration tab to review rule settings for individual devices. Select a device to get detailed information about whether each rule is in block mode, audit mode, or turned off entirely.

Configuration tab

Microsoft Intune provides management functionality for your ASR rules. If you want to update your settings, select Get started under Configure devices in the tab to open device management on Intune.

Exclude files from ASR rules

Microsoft 365 security center collects the names of the files you might want to exclude from detections by attack surface reduction rules. By excluding files, you can reduce false positive detections and more confidently deploy attack surface reduction rules in block mode.

The exclusions are managed on Microsoft Intune, but Microsoft 365 security center provides an analysis tool to help you understand the files. To start collecting files for exclusion, go to the Add exclusions tab in the Attack surface reduction rules report page.


The tool analyzes detections by all attack surface reduction rules, but only some rules support exclusions.

Add exclusions tab

The table lists all the file names detected by your attack surface reduction rules. You can select files to review the impact of excluding them:

  • How many fewer detections
  • How many fewer devices report the detections

To get a list of the selected files with their full paths for exclusion, select Get exclusion paths.

Logs for the ASR rule Block credential stealing from the Windows local security authority subsystem (lsass.exe) capture the source app lsass.exe. It is a normal system file, but captured as the detected file. As a result, the generated list of exclusion paths will include this file. To exclude the file that triggered this rule instead of lsass.exe, use the path to the source app instead of the detected file.

To locate the source app, run the following advanced hunting query for this specific rule (identified by rule ID 9e6c4e1f-7d60-472f-ba1a-a39ef669e4b2):

| where Timestamp > ago(7d)
| where ActionType startswith "Asr"
| where AdditionalFields contains "9e6c4e1f-7d60-472f-ba1a-a39ef669e4b2"
| project InitiatingProcessFolderPath, InitiatingProcessFileName

Check files for exclusion

Before excluding a file from ASR, we recommend that you inspect the file to determine if it's indeed not malicious.

To review a file, use the file information page on Microsoft Defender Security Center. The page provides prevalence information and the VirusTotal antivirus detection ratio. You can also use the page to submit the file for deep analysis.

To locate a detected file in Microsoft Defender Security Center, search for all ASR detections using the following advanced hunting query:

| where EventTime > ago(7d)
| where ActionType startswith "Asr"
| project FolderPath, FileName, SHA1, InitiatingProcessFolderPath, InitiatingProcessFileName, InitiatingProcessSHA1

Use the SHA1 or the InitiatingProcessSHA1 in the results to search for the file using the universal search bar in Microsoft Defender Security Center.