Protect your network with Windows Defender Exploit Guard

Applies to:

  • Windows 10, version 1709


  • Enterprise security administrators

Manageability available with

  • Group Policy
  • PowerShell
  • Configuration service providers for mobile device management

Network protection helps reduce the attack surface of your devices from Internet-based events. It prevents employees from using any application to access dangerous domains that may host phishing scams, exploits, and other malicious content on the Internet.

It expands the scope of Windows Defender SmartScreen to block all outboud HTTP(s) traffic that attempts to connect to low-reputation sources (based on the domain or hostname).

It is part of Windows Defender Exploit Guard.


You can also visit the Windows Defender Testground website at to confirm the feature is working and see how it works.

Network protection works best with Windows Defender Advanced Threat Protection - which gives you detailed reporting into Windows Defender EG events and blocks as part of the usual alert investigation scenarios.

When Network protection blocks a connection, a notification will be displayed from the Action Center. You can customize the notification with your company details and contact information. You can also enable the rules individually to customize what techniques the feature monitors.

You can also use audit mode to evaluate how Network protection would impact your organization if it were enabled.


The following requirements must be met before Network protection will work:

Windows 10 version Windows Defender Antivirus
Insider Preview build 16232 or later (dated July 1, 2017 or later) Windows Defender AV real-time protection and cloud-delivered protection must be enabled

Review Network protection events in Windows Event Viewer

You can review the Windows event log to see events that are created when Network protection blocks (or audits) access to a malicious IP or domain:

  1. Download the Exploit Guard Evaluation Package and extract the file np-events.xml to an easily accessible location on the machine.

  2. Type Event viewer in the Start menu to open the Windows Event Viewer.

  3. On the left panel, under Actions, click Import custom view...

    Antimation of the import custom view option

  4. Navigate to the Exploit Guard Evaluation Package, and select the file np-events.xml. Alternatively, copy the XML directly.

  5. Click OK.

  6. This will create a custom view that filters to only show the following events related to Network protection:

    Event ID Description
    5007 Event when settings are changed
    1125 Event when Network protection fires in Audit-mode
    1126 Event when Network protection fires in Block-mode

In this section

Topic Description
Evaluate Network protection Undertake a quick scenario that demonstrate how the feature works, and what events would typically be created.
Enable Network protection Use Group Policy, PowerShell, or MDM CSPs to enable and manage the Network protection feature in your network.