For years macOS has been integrating a technology called as standard Gatekeeper, designed to ensure that only reliable software is installed and run on the Mac: after years of years, Microsoft has also taken an approach very similar to that of the multinational Cupertino announcing a new Windows Defender function that corresponds to a rota of Gatekeeper for Windows 10.
As we have explained several times, the safest place to download apps for Mac Mac App Store. Apple examines each app before it is accepted in the dedicated digital store and the "signature" to ensure that it has not been tampered with or altered. If a problem with the app is detected, Apple can quickly remove it from the store.
By downloading or installing apps from the internet or directly from a developer's weh site, macOS continues to protect the Mac. By installing apps, plug-ins and installation packages for Mac from platforms other than the Mac App Store, macOS checks both the Developer ID and the authentication status to verify that the software is from a known developer and has not been tampered with.
From macOS Mojave onwards, developers can also request the authentication of their apps from Apple: this means that before the distribution the app was loaded on Apple systems, examined, and that it finally passed Cupertino's security checks. By default, Mac security and privacy preferences are set to authorize apps downloaded from the Mac App Store and those from known developers. For added security, the user can choose to authorize only apps downloaded from Apple's digital store.
A mechanism similar to the Apple Gatekeeper also arriving on Windows 10: Windows Defender, the security system integrated in Windows 10, will allow to identify and block PUA, an acronym for "Potentially Unwanted Applications", potentially unwanted applications that adversely affect the system. Microsoft has announced that the option will be integrated with the May 2020 update of Windows 10, arriving later this month, which can be activated as a setting from a dedicated panel.
This functionality is already integrated in Windows / Defender, but currently it can be activated using the group policies of the settings app and not with a simple on / off button. The functionality will be deactivated by default and users who wish can activate it manually. It will be possible to block downloads (only guaranteed in conjunction with Microsoft Edge) and potentially harmful apps.
Microsoft refers to the term "potentially unwanted applications": advertising software (which displays advertisements or promotions, including software that inserts advertisements on web pages), bundling software (which offers the installation of other software not digitally signed by the same entity), evasion software that actively seeks to circumvent the detection of security programs, including software that behaves differently in the presence of security products. Newer versions of the Edge browser block downloads of potentially unwanted applications and URL addresses of associated resources.
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