Microsoft wants to improve Windows Defender with AI acquisition

Microsoft is further bolstering its defences against cyber-attacks with the announcement that it has acquired an innovative Israeli security startup.

Hexadite is a firm which specialises in using artificial intelligence and machine learning to help detect and protect against attacks, delivering automated incident investigation and remediation capabilities.

The software giant said that acquiring Hexadite will help to boost the capabilities of Windows Defender Advanced Threat Protection (WDATP), enabling Windows 10 customers to better detect and respond to sophisticated threats and attacks on their networks.

Microsoft noted: “With Hexadite, WDATP will include endpoint security automated remediation, while continuing the incredible growth in activations of WDATP, which now protects almost 2 million devices.”

While Microsoft didn’t reveal any of the terms of the acquisition, TechCrunch reports that the move allegedly cost the company around $100 million (about £80 million, AU$135 million).

Ongoing investment

Of course, in its press statement, Microsoft didn’t fail to take the opportunity to remind us that Windows 10 is the most secure version of its desktop operating system ever, and that the company intends to make ongoing investments in terms of the automated detection of threats.

So we can doubtless expect more acquisitions on the security front when it comes to AI-powered detection.

We saw recently that Windows 10 was immune to the ravages of the WannaCry ransomware, in one definite highlight of the operating system’s boosted levels of security. Although users should never be too complacent, as white hat hackers have already demonstrated that the exploit which powered WannaCry can be adapted to affect Windows 10 (or at least older versions of it).

Darren is a freelancer writing news and features for TechRadar (and occasionally T3) across a broad range of computing topics including CPUs, GPUs, various other hardware, VPNs, antivirus and more. He has written about tech for the best part of three decades, and writes books in his spare time (his debut novel - 'I Know What You Did Last Supper' - was published by Hachette UK in 2013).