Configure AMSI integration with SharePoint Server
APPLIES TO: 2013 2016 2019 Subscription Edition SharePoint in Microsoft 365
The cybersecurity landscape has fundamentally changed, as evidenced by large-scale, complex attacks, and signals that human-operated ransomware are on the rise. More than ever, it's critical to keep your on-premises infrastructure secure and up to date, including SharePoint Servers.
To help customers secure their environments and respond to associated threats from the attacks, we're introducing integration between SharePoint Server and the Windows Antimalware Scan Interface (AMSI). AMSI is a versatile standard that allows applications and services to integrate with any AMSI-capable anti-malware product present on a computer.
The AMSI integration functionality is designed to prevent malicious web requests from reaching SharePoint endpoints. For example, to exploit a security vulnerability in a SharePoint endpoint before the official fix for the security vulnerability has been installed.
AMSI integration with SharePoint Server
When an AMSI-capable antivirus or anti-malware solution is integrated with SharePoint Server, it can examine
HTTPS requests made to the server and prevent SharePoint Server from processing dangerous requests. Any AMSI-capable antivirus or anti-malware program that is installed on the server performs the scan as soon as the server starts to process the request.
The purpose of AMSI integration isn't to replace existing antivirus/anti-malware defenses already installed on the server; it's to provide an additional layer of protection from malicious web requests made to SharePoint endpoints. Customers should still deploy SharePoint-compatible antivirus solutions on their servers to prevent their users from uploading or downloading files with viruses.
Before enabling AMSI integration, check the following prerequisites on each SharePoint Server:
- Windows Server 2016 or higher
- SharePoint Server Subscription Edition Version 22H2 or higher
- SharePoint Server 2019 build 16.0.10396.20000 or higher (KB 5002358: March 14, 2023 security update for SharePoint Server 2019)
- SharePoint Server 2016 build 16.0.5391.1000 or higher (KB 5002385: April 11, 2023 security update for SharePoint Server 2016)
- Microsoft Defender with AV engine version at 1.1.18300.4 or higher (alternatively, a compatible AMSI-capable third-party antivirus/antimalware provider)
Activate/Deactivate AMSI for SharePoint Server
Starting with the September 2023 security updates for SharePoint Server 2016/2019 and the Version 23H2 feature update for SharePoint Server Subscription Edition, AMSI integration with SharePoint Server becomes enabled by default for all web applications within SharePoint Server. This modification aims to enhance the general security of customer environments and mitigate potential security breaches. However, based on their requirements, customers retain the option to deactivate the AMSI integration functionality.
To initiate the September 2023 security updates, customers only need to install the update and run the SharePoint Products Configuration Wizard.
If customers skip installing the September 2023 public update, this change will be activated upon their installation of the subsequent public update that includes the September 2023 security updates for SharePoint Server 2016/2019 or the Version 23H2 feature update for SharePoint Server Subscription Edition.
If customers prefer not to have AMSI integration enabled automatically within their SharePoint Server farms, they can follow these steps:
- Install the September 2023 security updates for SharePoint Server 2016/2019 or the Version 23H2 feature update for SharePoint Server Subscription Edition.
- Run the SharePoint Products Configuration Wizard.
- Follow the standard steps to disable the AMSI integration feature in your web applications.
If you follow these steps, SharePoint won't attempt to re-enable the feature while installing future public updates.
To manually deactivate/activate the AMSI integration per web application, perform the following steps:
- Open SharePoint Central Administration, and select Application Management.
- Under Web Applications, select Manage web applications.
- Select the web application for which you want to enable the AMSI integration, and select Manage Features in the toolbar.
- On the SharePoint Server Antimalware Scanning screen, select Deactivate to switch off AMSI integration, or select Activate to switch on AMSI integration.
Alternatively, you can deactivate AMSI integration for a web application by running the following PowerShell command:
Disable-SPFeature -Identity 4cf046f3-38c7-495f-a7da-a1292d32e8e9 -Url <web application URL>
Or activate AMSI integration for a web application by running the following PowerShell command:
Enable-SPFeature -Identity 4cf046f3-38c7-495f-a7da-a1292d32e8e9 -Url <web application URL>
Test and verify AMSI integration with SharePoint Server
You can test the Antimalware Scan Interface (AMSI) feature to verify that it's working correctly. This involves sending a request to SharePoint Server with a special test string that Microsoft Defender recognizes is for testing purposes. This test string isn't dangerous, but Microsoft Defender treats it as if it is malicious so you can confirm how it behaves when it encounters malicious requests.
If AMSI integration is enabled in SharePoint Server and is using Microsoft Defender as its malware detection engine, the presence of this test string results in the request being blocked by AMSI instead of being processed by SharePoint.
The test string is similar to the EICAR test file but differs slightly to avoid URL encoding confusion.
You can test AMSI integration by adding the test string as either a query string or an HTTP header in your request to SharePoint Server.
Use a query string to test AMSI integration
For example: send a request to https://servername/sites/sitename?amsiscantest:x5opap4pzx54p7cc7$eicar-standard-antivirus-test-fileh+h*
Use an HTTP header to test AMSI integration
For example: send a request that looks like the following.
GET /sites/sitename HTTP/1.1 Host: servername amsiscantest: x5opap4pzx54p7cc7$eicar-standard-antivirus-test-fileh+h*
Microsoft Defender detects this as the following exploit:
If you are using a malware detection engine other than Microsoft Defender, then you should check with your malware detection engine vendor to determine the best way to test its integration with the AMSI feature in SharePoint Server.
Performance effects of using Microsoft Defender as the primary AMSI solution
By default, Microsoft Defender Antivirus (MDAV), an AMSI-capable solution, is automatically enabled and installed on endpoints and devices that are running Windows 10, Windows Server 2016, and later. If you haven't installed an antivirus/anti-malware application, SharePoint Server AMSI integration will work with MDAV. If you install and enable another antivirus/anti-malware application, MDAV will automatically turn off. If you uninstall the other app, MDAV will automatically turn back on, and the SharePoint Server integration will work with MDAV.
The benefits of using MDAV on SharePoint Server include:
- MDAV fetches signatures that match malicious content. If Microsoft learns about an exploit that can be blocked, a new MDAV signature can be deployed to block the exploit from affecting SharePoint.
- Using existing technology to add signatures for the malicious content.
- Using the expertise of Microsoft's malware research team for adding signatures.
- Using best practices that MDAV already applies for adding other signatures.
There may be a performance impact on the web application because AMSI scanning uses CPU resources. There's no distinct performance impact observed from AMSI scanning when tested with MDAV and no changes to be made to the existing documented SharePoint Server antivirus exclusions. Each antivirus provider develops their own definitions that utilize AMSI technology. Therefore, your level of protection remains dependent on how quickly your specific solution can be updated to detect the latest threats.
Microsoft Defender version via the command line
If you are using Microsoft Defender, you can use the command line and ensure to update the signatures with the latest version.
Command Promptas an Administrator.
- Navigate to
%ProgramData%\Microsoft\Windows Defender\Platform\<antimalware platform version>.
These steps determine your current engine version, check for updated definitions, and report.
Copyright (C) Microsoft Corporation. All rights reserved. C:\ProgramData\Microsoft\Windows Defender\Platform\4.18.2105.5-0>MpCmdRun.exe -SignatureUpdate Signature update started . . . Service Version: 4.18.2106.6 Engine Version: 1.1.18300.4 AntiSpyware Signature Version: 1.343.1364.0 AntiVirus Signature Version: 1.343.1364.0 Signature update finished. No updates needed C:\ProgramData\Microsoft\Windows Defender\Platform\4.18.2105.5-0>