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What’s identity_helper.exe (PWA Identity Proxy Host)? Is it safe or a virus?

Identity_helper.exe is a process associated with Microsoft's Identity Helper tool and the Edge browser, which is used to help secure user identities across different Windows apps and services.

The identity_helper.exe process is designed to assist in identifying and authenticating users, managing user access, and ensuring the security of the account data. It helps to streamline the process of user authentication and access control, making it easier for users to securely access various Microsoft services and applications.

At our SpyShelter Cybersecurity Lab here in Austin, Texas, we didn't find this identity_helper.exe running by default on our PCs, but that doesn't mean it's unsafe. As long as the Microsoft PWA Identity Proxy Host (identity_helper.exe) is signed by Microsoft it should be safe to have on your PC. It seems to be most likely to run if you are using Microsoft's Edge browser, and Copilot tools.

(Researched by Jon @ SpyShelter Labs)

Executable Processes List

More about identity_helper.exe on WINDOWS

Who makes identity_helper.exe (PWA Identity Proxy Host)?

We’ve found Microsoft Corporation should be the publisher of identity_helper.exe.

How do we know? Our SpyShelter cybersecurity labs focuses on monitoring different types of Windows PC executables and their behaviors for our popular SpyShelter Antispyware software. Learn more about us, and how our cybersecurity team studies Windows PC executables/processes.

What does it mean if someone is the publisher of a PC .exe (executable or process)?

The publisher of an executable is the entity responsible for its distribution and authenticity. Most processes/executables on your PC should be signed. The signature on the executable should have been verified through a third party whose job it is to make sure the entity is who it says it is. Find an unsigned executable? You should consider scanning any completely unsigned .exe on your PC.

Is identity_helper.exe safe or a virus?

Below are 4 simple steps you can take to see if the identity_helper.exe process is safe or malware.

  1. Scan the executable with Microsoft's built-in tech
  2. Find identity_helper.exe's publisher
  3. Search the executable's hash with VirusTotal
  4. Monitor the executable's behavior
Last updated: February 2, 2024

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Our team at SpyShelter has been studying Windows PC executables for over 15 years, to help fight against spyware, malware, and other threats. SpyShelter has been featured in publications like The Register, PC Magazine, and many others. Now we’re working to share free, actionable, and easy to understand information about Windows executables (processes) with the world, to help as many people as possible keep their devices safe. Learn more about us on our "About SpyShelter” page.

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