Microsoft to beef up Windows 10 antivirus to catch up with rivals

Microsoft is set to further tighten up security for businesses when the Fall Creators Update arrives for Windows 10, promising a raft of new features and ‘end-to-end’ security that leverages cloud intelligence to keep PCs protected – alongside a transformation for Windows Defender which will become a ‘next-gen antivirus’.

The main thrust of this is overhauling Windows Defender Advanced Threat Protection (ATP) so it’s seamlessly integrated across the entire Windows threat protection stack, with centralised management features to put a premium on ease-of-use.

Furthermore, ATP will be expanded to protect machines running Windows Server, and it will be enhanced with a raft of new capabilities that Microsoft describes as ‘next-generation approaches’ to threat prevention.

And that includes Windows Defender Exploit Guard, which essentially makes the Enhanced Mitigation Experience Toolkit (EMET) native to Windows 10, bolstered with new vulnerability mitigations.

Exploit Guard will also use intelligence drawn from Microsoft Intelligent Security Graph to offer a set of anti-intrusion policies and rules to defend against sophisticated threats including zero-day attacks.

Guards to tackle everything

A further new tool will also be coming in the form of Windows Defender Application Guard, and this defends applications – primarily the browser, which is the avenue of most attacks – from any malware encountered online, isolating a threat before it can spread to the network and other devices. Basically, this is another layer of defence on top of traditional methods such as antivirus software.

Also, Device Guard will be integrated into Windows Defender ATP in order to make application control easier to implement, turning a tricky area which can be something of a minefield for IT staff into a much more palatable experience, and again tightening security as a result.

Microsoft also notes how Windows Defender ATP’s threat protection has been considerably bolstered by cloud intelligence and machine learning, allowing for more accurate threat prevention.

The power of the cloud is also helping to drive Windows Defender Antivirus to more secure levels of protection, with Microsoft describing it as a next-gen antivirus in the ‘truest sense’.

So when it arrives later this year, it’ll be interesting to see what the independent testing labs which evaluate security software make of this revamped Windows Defender in comparison to the big rivals which normally considerably outscore Microsoft’s app.