Microsoft announces its plans to bring Defender antivirus software to Android and iOS. The antivirus is expected to be available for both platforms later this year.
In the cybersecurity world, malware-ridden apps and various vulnerabilities are exploiting iOS and Android phones. Microsoft believes backing up the smartphones with the Defender antivirus can help in prevention. The company has not revealed the exact features. Still, it is expected that the antivirus software will have browser integration, password manager, and vault to safely store sensitive data in it. According to The Verge, the company plans to preview it at the RSA Conference next week.
Microsoft has ruled for decades on desktops with its operating system. The company launched Defender in Windows XP as an anti-malware tool and has slowly evolved it as a full-fledged advance antivirus with Windows 8 release. Today, Microsoft Defender is one of the top choices among Windows users for security.
With less experience in the smartphone business and a failed Windows Phone operating system, the company has already lost its latency. By 2017 Microsoft did clear that the company won’t launch Windows phones in the future. The company has then shifted its focus to provide apps on both app stores. Recently it re-launched the Microsoft Office app for iOS, which combines Word, Excel, and Powerpoint into one ~375 MB app.
On the other hand, both app stores are facing challenges from hackers on and off. Apple found some hackers were injecting malicious code into some apps on the App Store. Android is also strengthening its Play Store safety policies to further protect user privacy.
While Apple and Google are busy accelerating the pace of innovation to deliver a safer app store experience to its users, Microsoft is ready to dive in and play its role with its expertise in security. Microsoft also launched Defender ATP for macOS last year and Defender ATP for Linux today.
Rob Lefferts, a Microsoft Corporate Vice President, talking about the Defender antivirus software, said in an interview, “They’re [app stores] pretty safe but pretty safe is not the same as safe. Malware does happen on those platforms”.
He claims that people can end up allowing malware onto their Android devices by installing applications they find outside of Google Play. The Defender software is designed to help by preventing people from visiting online destinations that Microsoft deems unsafe.
Lefferts believes that Microsoft’s Defender Antivirus Software “could help companies make employees less vulnerable to such attacks.”
After 2002, security became a top priority when founder Bill Gates sent his “trustworthy computing” memo to employees of Microsoft. In that memo, he described the company’s new strategies emphasizing security in its products.