Microsoft is expanding its security software beyond just Windows. The company’s ‘Defender’ antivirus software will make its way to Android and iOS later this year.
The news comes after about a year of Microsoft began previewing Defender for macOS. Previously called Windows Defender Advanced Threat Protection (ATP), the company has renamed it Microsoft Defender ATP. On Mac, Defender offers full virus and threat protection mixed with the ability to perform ‘quick’ and ‘full’ scans, options that are standard on the Windows version of Defender.
According to The Verge, Microsoft says the mobile apps will provide antivirus prevention and a “full command line experience.” It’s not entirely clear what that means, and Microsoft has kept quiet on specifics. However, it does plan to preview the Defender mobile apps at the RSA Conference next week.
The mobile Defender apps will likely function differently than the desktop variants, especially for iOS. Apple’s mobile operating system doesn’t allow apps to scan for malware across the system. On Android, however, there are already a variety of antivirus apps of varying reliability and credibility. Microsoft will likely join this growing market of software aimed at protecting Android devices, especially if users are sideloading apps from outside the Play Store.
Further, one of Microsoft’s more significant goals when it comes to Defender on mobile is protecting users against phishing schemes. The app should help prevent people — specifically, employees at a company — from accidentally revealing usernames, passwords or other important account information. Again, it isn’t clear how this would work or look on iOS.
The Defender mobile apps will both be part of Microsoft’s enterprise security platform. As such, it likely won’t be generally available to consumers.
However, Android and iOS are not the only platforms Microsoft is expanding Defender to. It also announced Microsoft Defender ATP for Linux and a preview is available for businesses to test now.