Risks of allowing apps through Windows Defender Firewall

There are two ways to allow an app through Windows Defender Firewall. Both of them are risky:

  • Add an app to the list of allowed apps (less risky).

  • Open a port (more risky).

When you add an app to the list of allowed apps in Windows Defender Firewall—sometimes called unblocking—or when you open a Windows Defender Firewall port, you allow a specific app to send info to or from your device through the firewall, as though you drilled a hole in the firewall. This makes your device less secure and might create opportunities for hackers or malware to use one of those openings to get to your files or use your device to spread malware to other devices.

Generally, it's safer to add an app to the list of allowed apps than to open a port. A port stays open until you close it, but an allowed app opens the "hole" only when needed.

To help decrease your security risk:

  • Only allow an app or open a port when you really need to, and follow the steps to remove apps from the list of allowed apps or close ports that you no longer need.

  • Never allow an app that you don't recognize to communicate through the firewall.

  1. Select the Start  menu, type Allow an app through Windows Firewall, and select it from the list of results.

  2. Select Change settings. You might be asked for an administrator password or to confirm your choice.

  3. To add an app, select the check box next to the app, or select Allow another app and enter the path for the app.

  4. To remove an app, clear the check box next to the app, and then select OK.

  1. Select the Start  menu, type Windows Defender Firewall, and select it from the list of results.

  2. Select Advanced settings on the side navigation menu. You might be asked for an administrator password or to confirm your choice.

  3. Select Inbound Rules.

  4. To open a port, select New Rule and complete the instructions.

  5. To close a port, select the rule you want to disable, and then under Actions, select Disable Rule.

 

Need more help?

Expand your skills
Explore Training
Get new features first
Join Microsoft Insiders

Was this information helpful?

Thank you for your feedback!

Thank you for your feedback! It sounds like it might be helpful to connect you to one of our Office support agents.

×