The Internet Programs page contains a list of all programs that WinPrivacy has detected using the Internet and are “Allowed” to use the Internet.
Left most on each line is a set if icons:
When you see this icon you know the manufacturer took the time to sign the file. Just because a file is signed does not mean it is a good file. More and more malware has been signing files with stolen certificates lately, but seeing this does tell you there is a greater likelihood this is a good program than a program the manufacturer didn’t bother to sign.
A cool feature we have is the ability to both allow and block programs by signature. Therefore, if you install a new printer and it installs a program that uses the Internet to obtain updates, you can allow this by manufacturer. This way, if other programs from this same vendor want to download updates from the Internet they can without having to first get your approval.
This icon indicates the file is a Windows Protected File. WinPrivacy automatically allows these files, but gives you the ability to block them if you desire. We suggest allowing Windows Protected Files.
The third icon you see is the application icon. We included this icon on the page to help you better understand what program to which the data is referring at a glance.
Next we list the program name, full path, number of current Internet connections, when it connected last, total number of Internet connections and when we first saw the program.
Please note, Initial Connection At refers to when WinPrivacy first saw the program try to access the Internet.
Program Recognition: (Best Practice)
We STRONGLY recommend activating both “Program Recognition” options on your settings page immediately.
Automatically block tells WinPrivacy to block any new program from accessing the Internet. “Smart Recognition” tells WinPrivacy to utilize our definitions and automatically allow “known good” programs while giving you the opportunity to override that decision if you desire when prompted.
Now back to some less exciting stuff.
allows you to pro-actively add programs to your allowed Internet Programs list without having to wait for them to attempt to access the Internet. This can be useful if you have some little known or self-authored programs you want WinPrivacy to allow. If you can’t think of any, don’t worry about it and continue with Details… below.
Simply click the button and navigate to the folder that houses the program you want to allow. Highlight that program and click OK.
The program will be added to your Allowed Internet Programs list.
Provides you with a plethora of information about the selected program.
You can see % of users who allow and who block the program.
You can see details about the program, including size, version, signature, MD5, SHA256 (SHA what? MD5 and SHA256 are useful for technical look-ups of the file in question) and more importantly other programs sharing the same signature.
From this screen you can view PLUS Info, the Microsoft Properties page, Allow or Block the individual program of all programs sharing this signature.
If you’re confused about a file, open this tab. It will help.
WinPatrol PLUS customers are familiar with PLUS Info. It is our internal program database that tells you more information about a program in an attempt to help you decide whether or not you want to allow the program.
Below is an example PLUS Info page. We have it in our plans to upgrade these.
Are you familiar with the Windows Properties page?
If so, you can access it from here.
If not, give it a click. The Properties page provides you with even more information about a particular file.
Some would say it is for more technical users, but you can’t hurt anything by opening it up, looking around and then clicking Cancel to close it.
You can view the retained history of connections for a program by clicking the History… button. Due to the volume of data generated, history is only kept for 30 days.
By default, we ship WinPrivacy with this off. Activating this can be useful if you suspect a program of taking data or spying on you. Other than that, it’s kind of cool to see but not of a lot of use.
Above is a partial screenshot of the History tab. Nothing special here.
If you are so inclined, you can drill down even further and see the URL where the connection was made, like the one for mcupdate.exe below.
Considering mcupdate.exe is not a harmful program, I’m not too interested in the connection history or traffic. But, if I was still in doubt as to what this program was, I would be looking very closely at this data to determine where the program is going and when.
In the future, we’ll be adding some additional features to help in this type of investigation.
Allow By Signature
Here is were it gets fun. Lets say you have a great program like WinPatrol PLUS on your computer and want to make sure everything Ruiware, LLC makes and digitally signs is allowed because they write incredible software. You can do that! Simply highlight your favorite program, like WinPatrol PLUS, and click “Allow By Signature”.
Now every awesome product from Ruiware, LLC will be allowed.
Not all programs are made equal. Say you decide you don’t want a particular program to access the Internet. Maybe it’s an automatic update program that runs updates when it is not convenient for you or a browser plug-in that got past your anti-virus and is now irritating you with pop-ups left and right.
Easy, highlight the program and click “Block Program”. That’s it. That program won’t be able to use the Internet again, giving you time run a full scan of your computer so your Antivirus can detect and clean up the program.
Oh, and if you make a mistake and block the wrong program… No big deal, the Blocked programs page contains an Allow Program menu item so you can reverse the block decision just as easily as you made it.
Block by Signature
Lets say there is a company that really irritates you or has caused you problems in the past and you don’t want any of their software to access the Internet from your computer, ever!
Simple. If they sign their software, simply block it by signature and everything they sign with that signing certificate is blocked. This is pretty powerful, so it should be used with care.
So, you may see some programs without any icons and that have “Does not exist” appended to the program name. Or maybe you have some older programs you don’t use anymore and don’t want them to show up in WinPrivacy anymore.
That’s simple. Highlight the program and select “Remove Data”. Poof, the references are gone.
If for any reason the program is run again and tries to access the Internet, please refer to Program Recognition above.