A preview version of Microsoft Defender Advanced Threat Protection (ATP) is now available for Android, reports have revealed. The preview phase is presently intended for enterprise use, for the most part. But does seem to indicate that Microsoft has made progress on the app since it was first unveiled back in February.
The company additionally rolled out preview app support for Linux today. That means this solution is now effectively available everywhere except iOS. At least in one form or another.
As to what this new security app does, that's not immediately clear. More features will be rolled out during the preview period, according to Microsoft. So the current features are not a complete picture of what this app will eventually do. For Android, one of the biggest features is going to be anti-phishing measures.
Ultimately, those protections are set to include blocking for unsafe websites sent via SMS or other apps. And it plans to additionally block off network connections that a malicious app tries to create in the background.
This could feasibly be a top security app
Going forward, however, Microsoft Defender could easily become one of the best security apps on the platform. That's setting aside anti-phishing measures that seem to already go above-and-beyond what many such apps are offering.
To begin with, the app reportedly goes well beyond what the built-in protection measures for Android accomplish. That's because its malware protection measures are centered around "signature-based" malware detection. Senior Microsoft Program Manager Kanishka Srivastava indicates that those scans are instantly performed on apps to attempt to detect malware or other problems.
So, if an app isn't safe to download, it's blocked. Otherwise, users will see a notification appear to let them know that the app should be safe.
The advanced nature of the initial features expected from Microsoft Defender here is telling. Especially since the company plans to create a ubiquitous experience across all platforms and to add more going forward. It's not a stretch to speculate, based on those things, that Microsoft's Android solution could ultimately be the most advanced option on the platform.
This Microsoft Defender preview isn't going to be available for just anybody
Now, at least initially, the public preview of Microsoft Defender isn't going to be immediately available from the Google Play Store for Android. Instead, as per Microsoft's documentation, users will need to install a secondary app from the company. That's the Intune Company Portal. And that prerequisite, for now, is the result of this only being available to Microsoft Defender's commercial customers.
Summarily, companies that have already contracted Microsoft Defender ATP protection will now have the option to provide that to employees. That will be found in their dashboard with all of the requisite features in place to enable and to deploy the app. And that's not necessarily a bad thing since this is effectively a real-world test phase.
There's been no indication as to when this app will become more widely available, as of this writing. But if everything goes smoothly, users should expect that to be sooner than later. Additional features will be added over the coming months, as the company prepares its iOS launch as well.