Microsoft has long operated its own antivirus software for Windows PCs. But now the company is creating a security app that can protect your Android, iOS, and macOS devices too.
The Microsoft Defender app will be available to paying subscribers of the Microsoft 365 cloud office software, and is designed to be a one-stop solution for all your security needs, across a whole range of devices from Microsoft, Google, and Apple.
The name might confuse consumers, though. The company also calls its built-in malware-scanning software for PCs Microsoft Defender Antivirus, which can be accessed from the Windows Security app.
Microsoft 365’s newly announced Defender service, on the other hand, expands the antivirus and anti-phishing monitoring to any Android, iOS, and macOS devices the customer may own once the app is installed.
“Microsoft Defender is simplified online security that meets you and your family where you are by bringing multiple protections together into a single dashboard,” Microsoft Corporate Vice President Vasu Jakkal wrote(Opens in a new window) in a blog post.
The “single dashboard” approach is meant to appeal to users who want to manage the online security of their entire family though a single platform. In her blog post, Jakkal called out software “fragmentation” as a key stumbling block that can impede users from keeping up with online threats.
To fix this, Microsoft Defender is not only cross-platform, but can also work with some existing antivirus products on your devices, including Norton and McAfee. The app will also issue security tips and real-time recommendations, in addition to launching routine malware scans.
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“This is just the start. 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,” Jakkal added.
However, Microsoft Defender does have a limitation. The app’s anti-malware protection only applies to Android and macOS, in addition to Windows. Apple’s iOS and iPadOS, meanwhile, will receive only “web protection,” which has been designed to stop phishing attacks.
To us, the app comes off as redundant. But then again, if you already subscribe to Microsoft 365, you’re getting a free perk. Interested users can receive Microsoft Defender by subscribing(Opens in a new window) to Microsoft 365, which starts at $6.99 per month for individuals and $9.99 for a family account.
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