Microsoft Defender (previously Windows Defender) has been around for years, but mainly as a Windows anti-malware tool. Now a more feature-packed version is available on more platforms for Microsoft 365 subscribers.
You’re probably familiar with the Microsoft Defender included with Windows (previously known as Windows Defender), which can detect and remove many malware and virus threats on PCs. However, that’s just one component of Microsoft’s suite of Defender tools. Microsoft has also been selling cloud-based Defender features to businesses for a while, such as email phishing protection, and now Microsoft is starting to bring some of that functionality to individuals too.
Microsoft announced today that ‘Microsoft Defender for individuals’ is now available for Microsoft 365 Personal and Family subscribers, across Windows, iOS, Android, and macOS. The Mac and mobile versions have the ability to scan apps and network traffic (using Defender SmartScreen) for potential dangers, while the Windows application seems to just be a dashboard, since those features are already present in the built-in Defender service.
The app probably won’t be too helpful for most people, at least in its current form, given that each supported platform already has its own built-in suite of security tools. Google Play Protect on Android already scans installed apps for dangerous code, while Apple has Gatekeeper and XProtect on iPhone, iPad, and Mac. Still, it’s free to Microsoft 365 subscribers, and Microsoft hopes the dashboard view might be helpful for families to check multiple devices for potential security problems at once.
Microsoft is also planning to continue updating the Defender apps with new features. The company said in a blog post, “As we look forward, we will continue to bring more protections together under a single dashboard, including features like identity theft protection and secure online connection. Microsoft Defender is simplified online security that grows with you and your family to help keep you safe.”
Microsoft Defender is available to download now, but it requires a valid Microsoft 365 Family or Personal subscription.