Protect security settings with Tamper Protection

Applies to:

  • Windows 10

Overview

During some kinds of cyber attacks, bad actors try to disable security features, such as anti-virus protection, on your machines. They do this to get easier access to your data, to install malware, or to otherwise exploit your data, identity, and devices. Tamper Protection helps prevent this from occurring.

With Tamper Protection, malicious apps are prevented from taking actions like these:

  • Disabling virus and threat protection
  • Disabling real-time protection
  • Turning off behavior monitoring
  • Disabling antivirus (such as IOfficeAntivirus (IOAV))
  • Disabling cloud-delivered protection
  • Removing security intelligence updates

How it works

Tamper Protection essentially locks Windows Defender Antivirus and prevents your security settings from being changed through apps and methods like these:

  • Configuring settings in Registry Editor on your Windows machine
  • Changing settings through PowerShell cmdlets
  • Editing or removing security settings through group policies
  • and so on.

Tamper Protection doesn't prevent you from viewing your security settings. And, Tamper Protection doesn't affect how third-party antivirus apps register with the Windows Security app. If your organization is using Windows 10 Enterprise E5, individual users can't change the Tamper Protection setting; this is managed by your security team.

What do you want to do?

Turn Tamper Protection on (or off) for an individual machine using Windows Security

Turn Tamper Protection on (or off) for your organization using Intune

Turn Tamper Protection on (or off) for an individual machine

If you are a home user, or you are not subject to settings managed by a security team, you can use the Windows Security app to turn Tamper Protection on or off. You must have appropriate admin permissions on your machine to perform the following task.

  1. Click Start, and start typing Defender. In the search results, select Windows Security.

  2. Select Virus & threat protection > Virus & threat protection settings.

  3. Set Tamper Protection to On or Off.

Note

Tamper Protection blocks attempts to modify Windows Defender Antivirus settings through the registry.

To help ensure that Tamper Protection doesn’t interfere with third-party security products or enterprise installation scripts that modify these settings, go to Windows Security and update Security intelligence to version 1.287.60.0 or later. (See Security intelligence updates.)

Once you’ve made this update, Tamper Protection will continue to protect your registry settings, and will also log attempts to modify them without returning errors.

Turn Tamper Protection on (or off) for your organization using Intune

If you are part of your organization's security team, you can turn Tamper Protection on (or off) for your organization in the Microsoft 365 Device Management portal (Intune). (This feature is rolling out now; if you don't have it yet, you should very soon, assuming your organization has Microsoft Defender Advanced Threat Protection (Microsoft Defender ATP) and that you meet the prerequisites listed below.)

You must have appropriate permissions, such as global admin, security admin, or security operations, to perform the following task.

  1. Make sure your organization meets the following requirements:

  2. Go to the Microsoft 365 Device Management portal (https://devicemanagement.microsoft.com) and sign in with your work or school account.

  3. Select Device configuration > Profiles.

  4. Create a profile that includes the following settings:

    • Platform: Windows 10 and later
    • ProfileType: Endpoint protection
    • Settings > Windows Defender Security Center > Tamper Protection
  5. Assign the profile to one or more groups.

Frequently asked questions

To which Windows OS versions is configuring Tamper Protection is applicable?

Windows 1903 May release

Is configuring Tamper Protection in Intune supported on servers?

No

Will Tamper Protection have any impact on third party antivirus registration?

No, third-party antivirus will continue to register with the Windows Security application.

What happens if Microsoft Defender Antivirus is not active on a device?

Tamper Protection will not have any impact on such devices.

How can I turn Tamper Protection on/off?

If you are a home user, see Turn Tamper Protection on (or off) for an individual machine.

If you are an organization using Microsoft Defender ATP E5, you should be able to manage Tamper Protection in Intune similar to how you manage other endpoint protection features. See Turn Tamper Protection on (or off) for your organization using Intune.

How does configuring Tamper Protection in Intune affect how I manage Windows Defender Antivirus through my group policy?

Your regular group policy doesn’t apply to Tamper Protection, and changes to Windows Defender Antivirus settings will be ignored when Tamper Protection is on.

For Microsoft Defender ATP E5, is configuring Tamper Protection in Intune targeted to the entire organization only?

Configuring Tamper Protection in Intune can be targeted to your entire organization as well as to devices and user groups with Intune.

Can I configure Tamper Protection in System Center Configuration Manager?

Currently we do not have support to manage Tamper Protection through System Center Configuration Manager.

I have the Windows E3 enrollment. Can I use configuring Tamper Protection in Intune?

Currently, configuring Tamper Protection in Intune is only available for customers who have Microsoft Defender Advanced Threat Protection E5.

What happens if I try to change Microsoft Defender ATP settings in Intune, System Center Configuration Manager, and Windows Management Instrumentation when Tamper Protection is enabled on a device?

You won’t be able to change the features that are protected by Tamper Protection; those change requests are ignored.

I’m an enterprise customer. Can local admins change Tamper Protection on their devices?

No. Local admins cannot change or modify Tamper Protection settings.

What happens if my device is onboarded with Microsoft Defender ATP and then goes into an off-boarded state?

In this case, Tamper Protection status changes, and this feature is no longer applied.

Will there be an alert about Tamper Protection status changing in the Microsoft Defender Security Center?

Yes. The alert is shown in https://securitycenter.microsoft.com under Alerts.

In addition, your security operations team can use hunting queries, such as the following:

AlertEvents | where Title == "Tamper Protection bypass"

Will there be a group policy setting for Tamper Protection?

No.

Windows 10 Enterprise Security

Help secure Windows PCs with Endpoint Protection for Microsoft Intune

Microsoft 365 Enterprise overview (at a glance)

Microsoft Defender ATP E5