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Microsoft

Update (October 14, 2019): Tamper protection is now generally available for Microsoft Defender ATP customers and enabled by default for home users

 

We are committed to making our solutions resistant to attacks and continuously working towards raising the bar in security. In this blog we’re covering the tamper protection feature in our antimalware solution. This feature builds on our previously announced Windows Defender Antivirus sandboxing capability and expands existing tamper protection strategies across Microsoft Defender Advanced Threat Protection.

 

Tamper protection is a new setting available in the Windows Security app which provides additional protections against changes to key security features, including limiting changes that are not made directly through the app.

 

If you are a home user, you can toggle the setting from the Virus & threat protection settings area in the app. For enterprise environments, the setting can be managed centrally through the Intune management portal.

 

We’re continuing to work on the feature, but the current version of the setting is available to Windows Insiders today. The full functionality of the feature (including support for enterprise-level management) will be released along with the upcoming release of Windows 10.

 

windows-security-tamper-protection.jpg

 

Enabling this feature prevents others (including malicious apps) from changing important protection features such as:

 

  • Real-time protection, which is the core antimalware scanning feature of Microsoft Defender ATP next gen protection and should rarely, if ever, be disabled
  • Cloud-delivered protection, which uses our cloud-based detection and prevention services to block never-before seen malware within seconds
  • IOAV, which handles the detection of suspicious files from the Internet
  • Behavior monitoring, which works with real-time protection to analyze and determine if active processes are behaving in a suspicious or malicious way and blocks them

 

The feature also prevents the deletion of security intelligence updates and the disabling of the entire antimalware solution. Note: There's no change in the way third-party antivirus solutions are registered with the Windows Security app. 

 

For Windows home users, the feature will be On by default when Windows is installed. If you are upgrading and Cloud-delivered protection is enabled, then the tampering protection feature will also be turned On.

 

For enterprise E5 customers (such as those with a Microsoft Defender ATP license), this feature will be opt-in and can only be managed from the Intune management console. Local device admin users will not be able to change the setting. This ensures that even malicious apps – or malicious actors – can’t locally override the setting. Note that enterprise management is currently in preview.

 

windows-security-tamper-protection-enterprise.png

 

We’re continuing to work on this feature, and you can test it out now on any recent Windows Insider build released during March 2019 or later. If you’d like to test this feature, please send us feedback via the Feedback Hub, or email us at wdcustomer@microsoft.com.

 

We’d love to have you on the journey so we can use your feedback and insights to deliver strong protection across platforms.

 

Not yet reaping the benefits of Microsoft Defender ATP’s industry-leading optics and detection capabilities? Sign up for free trial today.

 


Iaan D’Souza-Wiltshire (@iaanMSFT) & Shweta Jha (@shwetajha_MS)
Microsoft Defender ATP

45 Comments
Senior Member

Should we already be able to enable this tamper protection within Intune in advance of the release, or is that forthcoming? I'm unable to find this setting in Intune.

Occasional Contributor

I expect technical posts from the PG, but you've provided neither details on implementation nor any examples of real-world scenarios in which this protection works.

 

Enabling this feature prevents others (including malicious apps)

What does "others" mean? If a script runs under my user account and disables Defender via the group policy, is this me or others? How do you differentiate me from others? 

 

Occasional Contributor

Will enterprise management really only be limited to Intune MDM, or will it be configurable from SCCM or Group Policy also?

Microsoft

Intune management is still under development and yet to come. Management for this feature will be limited to Intune (MDM/CSP) channel only to start with.  


@Eric Avena wrote:

We are committed to making our solutions resistant to attacks and continuously working towards raising the bar in security. In this blog we’re covering the tamper protection feature in our antimalware solution. This feature builds on our previously announced Windows Defender Antivirus sandboxing capability and expands existing tamper protection strategies across Microsoft Defender Advanced Threat Protection.

 

Tamper protection is a new setting available in the Windows Security app which provides additional protections against changes to key security features, including limiting changes that are not made directly through the app.

 

If you are a home user, you can toggle the setting from the Virus & threat protection settings area in the app. For enterprise environments, the setting can be managed centrally through the Intune management portal.

 

We’re continuing to work on the feature, but the current version of the setting is available to Windows Insiders today. The full functionality of the feature (including support for enterprise-level management) will be released along with the upcoming release of Windows 10.

 

windows-security-tamper-protection.jpg

 

Enabling this feature prevents others (including malicious apps) from changing important protection features such as:

 

  • Real-time protection, which is the core antimalware scanning feature of Microsoft Defender ATP next gen protection and should rarely, if ever, be disabled
  • Cloud-delivered protection, which uses our cloud-based detection and prevention services to block never-before seen malware within seconds
  • IOAV, which handles the detection of suspicious files from the Internet
  • Behavior monitoring, which works with real-time protection to analyze and determine if active processes are behaving in a suspicious or malicious way and blocks them

 

The feature also prevents the deletion of security intelligence updates and the disabling of the entire antimalware solution. Note: There's no change in the way third-party antivirus solutions are registered with the Windows Security app. 

 

For Windows home users, the feature will be On by default when Windows is installed. If you are upgrading and Cloud-delivered protection is enabled, then the tampering protection feature will also be turned On.

 

For enterprise E5 customers (such as those with a Microsoft Defender ATP license), this feature will be opt-in and can only be managed from the Intune management console. Local device admin users will not be able to change the setting. This ensures that even malicious apps – or malicious actors – can’t locally override the setting. Note that enterprise management is not available in current preview versions of Windows 10, but we’ll be bringing it to preview shortly.

 

windows-security-tamper-protection-enterprise.png

 

Now in limited preview

 

We’re continuing to work on this feature, and you can test it out now on any recent Windows Insider build released during March 2019 or later. If you’d like to test this feature, please send us feedback via the Feedback Hub, or email us at wdcustomer@microsoft.com.

 

We’d love to have you on the journey so we can use your feedback and insights to deliver strong protection across platforms.

 

Not yet reaping the benefits of Microsoft Defender ATP’s industry-leading optics and detection capabilities? Sign up for free trial today.

 


Iaan D’Souza-Wiltshire (@iaanMSFT) & Shweta Jha (@shwetajha_MS)
Microsoft Defender ATP


 

Contributor

Are you aware that having this feature on breaks your own "Turn off Windows Defender Antivirus" policy?  "Breaks" as in has no effect unless Tamper Protection is off?  I'm thinking that shouldn't be by design, if it is. 

Microsoft

Hi Brian - Would you please be able to provide more details about your scenario and which MS policy you are talking about?

Contributor

Not too much more, since that is its exact name. It's located in Computer Configuration/Administrative Templates/Windows Components/Windows Defender Antivirus.

 

The scenario is anyone who wants to use the above policy will be blindsided by the fact that it no longer works without a) knowing about Tamper Protection, and b) disabling it. The description for the policy I mentioned, at the very least, should be updated to reflect this new reality. Unless it's a bug, in which case it should be fixed.

Microsoft

Thanks for pointing this out Brian. We will get GP policy description updates. Please note that disableantispyware is not supported way to turn defender off. See the documentation here : https://docs.microsoft.com/en-us/windows-hardware/customize/desktop/unattend/security-malware-window....

 

We have KB article having this note added as well : https://support.microsoft.com/en-us/help/4490103/windows-10-prevent-changes-to-security-settings-wit...

Occasional Contributor

You're pointing to autounattend.xml parameters docs and claiming that the group policy is not supported. Please get your story straight.

 

And btw, where's the tamper protection documentation? 

You probably have your own group policy for tamper protection. Then you should document it.

 

Are there any other group policies that aren't compatible? Document it. We should not be finding this out by trial and error...

 

The MSKB article is pathetic. And while I'm on it, you should provide the full (official) group policy name instead of some "key".

Contributor

Right, that unattended setting, which I didn't know existed, isn't what I was talking about.

Microsoft

Yes Brian, underneath its the same GP policy.

Contributor

OK, but the article saying it's not "supported" doesn't really track, does it?  Because it's an official group policy, and there's no hint that it's not supported.

 

If that's not a supported method, what is?!

Microsoft

The question is why do you want to turn off windows defender? I would like to udnerstand your usecase. Windows Defender  comes with OS and it remains on, unless any other 3P AV is registered with Windows Security App. Once the other AV is registered with WSC, windows defender AV automatically goes into disable mode, and this is the only supported way to disable defender. Happy to schedule sometime and talk. Let me know. 

Occasional Contributor

No, the question is why a major security feature is being released without proper documentation, including its impact on other features such as Group Policies. 

 

As for your statement that disabling WD [via the Group Policy] is not supported, I'd like to see a clear and relevant documentation (not the one on the answer file settings) as well as a conclusive statement in the Group Policy which currently supports at least Vista. (And yes, I see the recommendation at the bottom of the GP description).

 

wd.png

 

Let's schedule a talk about this! 

 

 

Contributor

Very much agreed, on the last post.

 

But to answer Shweta's question, I like to disable it in test VMs, since they're already slow enough. This makes them more usable. Having AV in such an environment is completely N/A.

Microsoft

Hi Vadim, as I said before, we will get GP description updated. Please note that feature is still in the preview and official document is yet to come. 

 

Brian - Defender is doign what it is supposed to do, in case you are certain about the environment and do not want any RTP overhead, you can use exclusions : https://docs.microsoft.com/en-us/windows/security/threat-protection/windows-defender-antivirus/confi...

 

Occasional Contributor
Shweta, there's no harm in publishing a documentation preview when you release a feature preview. GA is the end of May, your feature set is ready. Please send a comment when you publush your docs so we can see how serious you're.
Contributor

Shweta, excluding everything a) isn't possible and b) is counterproductive. I'll just continue to disable it.

 

Can you give us a preview of what the updated GP description is going to say?  Is it that it has a dependency on Tamper protection (which, btw, should have its own policy--why doesn't it?), or what, that we're only supposed to look at it longingly but not use it because it might be deprecated?

 

I don't think you've outright confirmed that it's intended to have said dependency. You've been a little cryptic.

New Contributor

Will tamper protection also prevent installation of third party AV's?

(As we have a group of dev machines that require local admin, and I'd still like to prevent them from installing other AV's or at least not disable Defender when they are installed)

Occasional Contributor

Disappointed overall, I mean this Defender ATP in general seemed so enterprise grade but when you really start trailing it the limited support for various OS's, etc., is just too much, outside of Windows 10 almost everything has an exception.  Additionally it doesn't seem Device Threat Status even works in Intune without having your device both MDM Managed and Azure AD Domain Joined, MDM Managed with Azure AD Registered and the status never changes from deactivated.  This seems strange as I would think many would want to use this as part of managing security on BYOD devices as well, it almost forces you to get a package from a 3rd party to address the all up concern, most of us don't need another console, I wanted to love this solution but it feels a year or two away from being ready.  I will note that the device threat level detection works fine in the defender security center but losing the ability to control access via MCAS is unfortunate.  Are there plans to enable this without AZ AD Join required?  Any updates on the tamper protection, I was wondering why the setting was disabled with no way to manage it in Intune or locally.   

Occasional Contributor

When and how will tamper protection be available in windows 10 business?

 

i have PCs running 1903 but tamper protection not showing in virus settings page

 

i have seen registry key values of 0 to disable and 5 to enable.

 

the tamper key on my customer’s systems is set to 2

 

more interesting is that attempts to change the value to 0 or 5 are blocked

 

this leads me to thinking it is actually enabled but with no guidance on how to enable disable or config

 

 

Occasional Visitor

We have 1903 with 1903 GPO templates but I can't enable Tamper protection through GPO for all machines.

 

Users are constantly asking question about that !!!! mark on the defender logo.

 

Why isn't this integrated in the GPO templates?!

Microsoft

@Sentry23 there is not change in the way 3rd party AV registers with windows security app.

See below documentation for more details - https://docs.microsoft.com/en-us/windows/security/threat-protection/windows-defender-antivirus/preve...

 

Microsoft

@stadmin GPO can be altered by local admin on the device and easy to tampered with. If you are home user you can turn feature on/off from windows security app. If you are MDATP E5 customer,  Tamper protection setting on/off is managed from Intune, a secure payload issued by defender cloud for the organization to turn the feature on/off  (note: MDATP E5 version is yet to be GA).

Occasional Contributor

The documentation is a copy-paste of this blog post. You're being asked where the GP for the new feature is, but you don't say you don't have it. Can't you give a clear a precise answer: yes, this is the <policy name> or no, we don't have it.

 

Are you seriously saying you don't have GPO because the local admin can alter it? But then local admin can disable your new feature and change anything.

Microsoft

@enspireditaa  - is your device managed or non managed? value 2 means the feature is not supported on the device. 

 

Request you to please log a bug using feedback hub ,https://support.microsoft.com/en-us/help/4021566/windows-10-send-feedback-to-microsoft-with-feedback...

Request you to please also add support cab

From admin cmd.exe run below command and copy cab file generated.

File path will be shown at the end of output of getfiles command

C:\Program Files\Windows Defender\MpCmdRun.exe -GetFiles

Microsoft

@Vadim Sterkin _ Tamper protection feature is a secure setting and does not have GP, you can't really manage the feature using GP. If you are home user, you can turn the feature on/off from Windows Security App. For Microsoft Defender ATP  enterprise customers feature can be managed from Intune only (currently in preview).

 

 

Occasional Contributor
Oh, finally. This should be in the documentation!
Microsoft
@Jerod Powell if you are MDATP E5 customers, feature management from Intune is currently available in private preview mode .
Let  me know if you would like to try the feautre out and provide feedback. Your feedback is important to us and will help in shaping up the feature. 
Occasional Contributor

When will this be supported for managed devices in Microsoft 365 business?

 

How can I keep my customers safe from trickbot's disabling of defender in the meantime?

Occasional Contributor

@Shweta Jha I'd be happy to try out the Intune private preview if Jerod isn't :smile:. We're MDATP E5.

Microsoft

@enspireditaa - Defender is able to detect and remediate trickbot's if your device has/had latest security intelligence update and/or has cloud protection feature turned on.

 

 

Microsoft

@Vadim Sterkin  - thanks for your feedback, we have documentation updated (See FAQ section). 

https://docs.microsoft.com/en-us/windows/security/threat-protection/windows-defender-antivirus/preve...

Occasional Contributor

@Shweta Jhathanks much - could you please elaborate on what protection is provided by cloud protection compared to tamper protection?

Also, any plans to add some or all of Defender ATP to 365 Business?

Occasional Contributor

@Shweta Jha thanks for updating the docs, much better now!

Microsoft

@enspireditaa_01  - Sure,  you can find more information about cloud protection here 

https://docs.microsoft.com/en-us/windows/security/threat-protection/windows-defender-antivirus/enabl...

 

Defender on the box works in synch with cloud protection to provide next gen protection capacities, you would see an nice diagram on various capabilities provided on the box and cloud. Tamper protection on the other hand ensures changes to defender services and its feature are not tampered with.  See this document for details - https://docs.microsoft.com/en-us/windows/security/threat-protection/windows-defender-antivirus/preve...

 
 
New Contributor

i can't find the intune setting to enable tamper protection. when will this be possible?

https://docs.microsoft.com/en-us/windows/security/threat-protection/windows-defender-antivirus/preve...

clipboard_image_0.png

Microsoft

@Wolfgang Bach - Defender tamper protection feature is currently in preview, I sent you message if you would like to try the feature in preview mode.

Occasional Visitor

Hi @Shweta Jha I would love to try it. I have followed the steps in the doc to make sure I meet all the requirements. Thanks.

Occasional Visitor

@Shweta Jha Could you add a Group Policy that enables Tamper Protection but doesn't allow disabling it (unless, of course, you physically login to the device to turn it off just like a home user)? That way, it would still not allow malicious programs to change the setting.

 

In the description of the policy, you could indicate this behavior so that administrators know what they are getting into and that the decision is irreversible.

Occasional Contributor

I now see that this is generally available for unmanaged PCs and e5 PCs

 

sure seems like 365 business is now less secure than an unmanaged PC wrt tamper protection.

 

this Undermines the idea that 365 business is more secure, which WAS a key selling point

 

update - it now appears partially implemented in 365 business.  Although not added to device policy in the admin center it is part of intune device configuration.  Sadly, so far the change isn’t yet active - reported to tech support.

Deleted
Not applicable
Okay so, I care about security, I understand the value, I accept why it is implemented the way it is, I think it's overall a positive move. However, I see a big issue i'm not seeing a real solution to. Say I get 200 new Windows 10 machines, they will come Windows Defender and Tamper Protection enabled out the box, so far so good. Lets understand and accept the context that I do not have Intune, I don't plan to use Intune, instead like most businesses I rely on group policy and powershell to manage the 200 devices, so far so good. If i try to use powershell or group policy to disable windows defender it wont have any effect. That i accept, its not supported, you're protecting me, windows is a service, tamper protection protects me even from bad admins, good good good and good. However! Windows Defender PUA (potentially unwanted application) protection is disabled by default, Network Protection (like system wide smart screen) is disabled by default, ASR (attack surface reduction) rules are disabled by default. So I go off and do my little powershell thing to enable those defender features on those 200 machines. (Set-MpPreference -PUAProtection Enabled Set-MpPreference -EnableNetworkProtection Enabled Set-MpPreference -AttackSurfaceReductionRules_Ids blah blah blah) I then wanna check that its worked as intended so I do a Get-MpPreference and they'll report back that those features are enabled as I configured them, everything is fine right? wrong! Tamper Protection means PUA/network/ASR protections are still disabled even when powershell reports they are now turned on. The only way i can be sure is to physically connect to the machine and run evaluations to check the features are functioning, and they are not functioning, despite the fact that Get-MpPreference implies otherwise. Is it really the case, that i have to go to every single one of these 200 machines, turn off tamper protection, enable PUA protection, enable network protection, enable ASR rules, and then turn tamper protection back on? Thats really what i have to do to enable these basic security features? One by one on all 200 machines? and then i still cant check remotely on a regular basis if they are on because the powershell is a lie? There's the view that defender isn't that good, and i tell people it is good, and the thing holding it back is mainly that PUA detection is off by default, unlike every other AV on the market (thats how malwarebytes got its fame, its not actually better). My advice to those people is to turn on PUA protection on via group policy or powershell, and consider turning on network protection, implementing the ASR rules. But now doing so will have no effect, because tamper protection blocks them. and even worse, group policy and powershell both imply to administrators that the features are enabled and running, when they're actually completely disabled! I'm all for tamper protection, but forcing me to use intune just to enable PUA protection is terrible! and what about home users? why is there no option for PUA protection in the security centre gui???? Tamper protection has been around since April, i've used it, the documentation was originally brief and incorrect (might still be), i've learnt it was what broke these security features from being enabled, i assumed it'd be getting fixed in 19h2 or 20h1. Now you're saying no, its not being fixed, but instead its being rolled out and turned on by default so basic critical features such as blocking known malicious software and known malicious websites are now prevented from being enabled by the people that need the protection the most?? I mean no disrespect at all but I simply cannot log into all 200 computers one by one to disable tamper protection (which i want enabled) to enable security features that should be on by default. Does nobody else see this as a massive issue?? It seems like one step forward and two steps back. And holding back basic functionality and using it to shill Azure AD and Intune is the exact opposite of market leadership, or "advanced threat protection". Please please address this, and i apologise for my impolite tone and general rant, it is not intended at anybody specifically. (PS I genuine wish Microsoft followed through with important projects like nano server and REFS that were thrown to one side because despite being the future turns out you can save money for a couple quarters by giving up and screwing stakeholders. This seems like one of those things.)
Occasional Visitor

I need a way to problematically disable Tamper Protection.

I perform security product testing and evaluation in a small Active Directory environment.

My testing requires that I completely disable Windows Defender so that I can accurately measure a security product's ability to detect specific cyber threats.

Presently, I have to manually disable Tamper Protection in the GUI over 5 hosts in order to perform our tests, and its needlessly tedious.

We do not have Intune.

Is there any way I can disable Tamper Protection from PowerShell with Domain Admin rights?

Is there another solution other than disabling Tamper Protection manually through the GUI?

Occasional Visitor

So, if you want to ENABLE Tamper Protection with GPO, you must create STARTUP SCRIPT 

clipboard_image_0.png

Click ADD , then on Script Name write powershell.exe . On Script Parameters field write following script:

start-sleep -s 20 ; if ((Get-ItemProperty -Path 'HKLM:\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows Defender\Features').tamperprotection -ne 5 ) {Set-MpPreference -DisableRealtimeMonitoring 1 ; start-sleep -s 2 ; REG ADD 'HKLM\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows Defender\Features' /v TamperProtection /t REG_DWORD /d 5 /f ; start-sleep -s 2 ; Set-MpPreference -DisableRealtimeMonitoring 0}

The code must be on one line !

clipboard_image_1.png

Click OK to save. Link this GPO to your Computers container and then run gpupdate in Powershell on Windows Server .
The value of register that controlling Tamper Protection must be 5 to be active. You can't change this value without system account. This script will check the value of the registry and if the value is not 5 - the script will change it to 5. The changes will be applied on client computers after two restarts. First is for changing the registry value to 5 . Second restart is for applying changes in Windows Defender. In two words - link this GPO to target machine. You may run gpupdate on target machines or force the GPO, because otherwise the restarts may be 3 times.
If you want to disable Windows Tamper Protection with this method, you must change value to 0 or other different than 5

start-sleep -s 20 ; if ((Get-ItemProperty -Path 'HKLM:\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows Defender\Features').tamperprotection -ne 0 ) {Set-MpPreference -DisableRealtimeMonitoring 1 ; start-sleep -s 2 ; REG ADD 'HKLM\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows Defender\Features' /v TamperProtection /t REG_DWORD /d 0 /f ; start-sleep -s 2 ; Set-MpPreference -DisableRealtimeMonitoring 0}

The start-sleep in the begin is to wait for the system to start Windows Defender. You can use this script in Powershell, but you must run Powershell with NT\System account (eg. with PSexec -> psexec.exe -s -i powershell.exe) . In this case the script can be entered without start-sleep in the begin :) 
This is tested on about 180 computers in company and working. The problem with turned off Tamper Protection still exits after upgrade to Windows 10 version 1909! . Sorry for my bad English and have a nice day!

Microsoft

@zik91 - thanks for your reseach and posting this to us. I have asked our engineering team to look into this and update.