How to Remove wpad.dat Malware? | Configuration File of the WPAD Domain

The WPAD domain plays a crucial part to detect and locate the URLs and proxy servers on the internet. The configuration file of the WPAD domain is stored in wpad.dat. In recent days, some user has claimed wpad.dat as malware in different forums. It is not malware, but a slight configuration in it could cause huge damage to a device. We will be discussing the WPAD domain and wpad.dat in this article.

What is wpad.dat?

The WPAD or Web Proxy Auto-discovery is a method that is used by clients to locate the configured URL by using DHCP or DNS discovery methods. This method allows the browser to locate the URL or proxy server on the internet. The wpad.dat is the protocol file that is identical to the proxy.pac and contains JavaScript lines. These JavaScript lines are used to configure the web browser proxies.

After detecting and downloading the configuration file, the WPAD can be executed for determining a specific proxy for a specific URL (Uniform Resource Locator). It is designed to provide proxy settings to multiple devices over a network. Whenever the WPAD is enabled, the device starts to check the proxy information provided by the network. Afterward, the device automatically uses the proxy.pac or wpad.dat provided settings to transmit the network traffic over the connected network.

What is WPAD Domain Name wpad.dat?

The wpad.dat keeps the protocol files and JavaScript lines that configure the web proxies. After detecting and downloading the configuration file, the WPAD domain saves them as wpad.dat. From here, the WPAD domain can execute a specific proxy for specific URLs. The WPAD can provide a common proxy setting to multiple devices over a computer network system.

Is wpad.dat Malware?

WPAD is not malware. But it can cause huge damage to a device. Especially when the system is configured to use a dangerous or unsecured proxy by a malicious Wi-Fi network. At that time your device could be vulnerable to various malicious attacks including snooping, sniffing, and spoofing attacks. And you know how much dangerous these attacks could be.

While browsing through a proxy server, the device allows the proxy server to collect the full browsing information. That could lead you to data leak while using the wrong or malicious proxy server. Moreover, a slight misconfiguration on WPAD can invite malicious codes on a device.

In DEF CON 24 (Summer of 2016), some security researchers demonstrated WPAD attacks, which could be a big risk in near future. So, it is necessary to configure the WPAD domain as well as wpad.dat, or your device could get infected by malicious codes.

How do I Remove WPAD Domain wpad.dat?

To avoid the potential risks, it is better to disable the WPAD domain wpad.dat. As you cannot remove it completely from your device, but you can disable it. To do so, you need to follow some basic steps, which are described below;


Open the Settings by pressing Windows + I key on the device keyboard and navigate through the Network & Internet > Proxy to open the Proxy Settings of your device.


Thereafter, turn off the toggle for Automatically detect settings to disable the WPAD domain wpad.dat on your device.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Can WPAD be Configured by the Third-Party System Monitoring Tools?

Some of the most advanced-leveled third-party system monitoring tools can configure the WPAD domain. But it is better to configure the WPAD manually.

Is WPAD Secure?

A properly configured WPAD domain is secure and can protect your device from different types of threats. But a misconfiguration could lead your device to get infected.

What Does WPAD Use to Locate the Domain or URL?

The WPAD domain uses DHCP or DNS discovery methods to locate the domain and URL. After locating or detecting, it downloads the configuration and starts to determine a proxy for the specified URL.


Despite not being malicious, the WPAD domain can cause damage to a device when it is not properly configured. Sometimes, it could be vulnerable to malicious cyber-attacks. So, it is better to disable the WPAD domain to avoid potential threats. That’s all for today, have a great day. 

Similar Posts

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *