If ever you need a reminder of Microsoft’s colossal failure in the mobile market, think if this simple fact: Microsoft has launched an antivirus application for Android, preview now available, with an iOS version expected to follow later.
Now, it’s not surprising that they think there is a market for antivirus software on Android. There is a known problem with security on Android because of the fragmented nature of the platform.
The public preview of Microsoft Defender for Android is now available, which includes protection against phishing.
“Scans are instantly performed detect malware and potentially unwanted applications (PUA),” explains Kanishka Srivastava, a senior program manager at Microsoft. “If a safe app is downloaded, the end user will see a lightweight notification letting them know the app is clean.”
According to Microsoft, the web protections can do real-time scanning to detect unsafe websites you receive via SMS, WhatsApp, email, or other apps and are instantly blocked. It uses Defender SmartScreen technology that blocks unsafe network connections that malicious apps might try to create.
“In the coming months we will be releasing additional capabilities on Android and you will hear more from us about our investments in mobile threat defense for iOS devices as well,” explains Rob Lefferts, corporate vice president of Microsoft 365 security.
It is nearly certain that there will be less capabilities in the iOS version, as Apple opens up less of its platform for developers to tinker with.
It will be interesting to see how well it protects Android device, as it is a notoriously difficult task. “When Microsoft Defender ATP for Android finds that a device has malicious apps installed, it will classify the device as ‘high risk’ and will flag it in the Microsoft Defender Security Center,” said Srivastava.