Microsoft Defender has long been a part of Windows’ security offering, and it has seen an almost complete removal of the need for 3rd party antivirus software; it’s adept at dealing with viruses, malware and other crap from the internet, and it’s part of the standard Windows experience – companies like Norton, Kaspersky, McAfee and more must hate it, because it surely must’ve seen their revenues slashed.
The success of the product has seen Microsoft bring Defender to Mac last year, and now the tech giant is bringing the same technology to Android and iOS users sometime later this year. It’s not exactly clear what the mobile versions of Defender will actually do – as mobiles are remarkably less susceptible to the things needing antivirus software – but nonetheless, it’s coming.
While the Mac version offers antivirus protection and full machine scans, The Verge highlights that the mobile versions — specifically on iOS — that will arrive sometime this year aren’t likely to offer the same due to Apple’s limitations for third-party iOS apps.
Microsoft’s mobile Defender clients will likely be very different to the desktop versions, especially as Apple’s iOS platform doesn’t allow apps to scan for malware across an iPhone or iPad.
There are a variety of Android antivirus apps available, though. Microsoft will join this growing market to prevent malware in Android apps that are sideloaded onto devices.
Read together, it looks like Defender on iOS at least will be more targeted towards stopping phishing attacks rather than antivirus, as Apple’s security requirements wouldn’t let it do more. However, on Android where malware can be a problem, it’s likely that Defender will be a more full-featured product.
Given the damage that malware, phishing attacks and the like can inflict, I’m all for a household name bringing its class-leading technology to our mobile platforms.