Microsoft Defender, the company’s security app, is now available to any individual who has a subscription to Microsoft 365, the online productivity suite that includes Word, Excel, and more. Different from the previously released Microsoft Defender software that was built exclusively into Windows computers, this version is available on Windows, Android, macOS, and iOS devices.
Owners of Windows computers without Microsoft 365 don’t need to sweat; Microsoft is still preinstalling software on Windows to protect against viruses and other malware. That software is now simply branded as Windows Security. Beyond accessing a security dashboard where all your connected devices are visible, there’s not a lot of extra incentive for Windows owners to download the new Microsoft Defender app.
Microsoft is extending protection options to Mac and smartphone owners who use Microsoft 365. Not all devices receive the same protections, however. For example, on the Mac, anti-malware protection is provided by Microsoft Defender, while web protection is not.
On the other hand, iPhones and Android devices are able to use web protection from Microsoft Defender. The web protection runs a virtual private network on your smartphone in the background and tries to intervene if any dangerous hyperlinks appear. Microsoft claims that the data from your browsing history is stored on-device and not shared with the company. Learn even more about VPNs and boosting your digital privacy with WIRED senior writer and reviewer Scott Gilbertson’s guide to the best VPNs. In addition to web protection, the anti-malware protection from Microsoft Defender is supported for Android phones.
The new Microsoft Defender app is designed to be used specifically by consumers—as in families and individuals. Although the names are similar, Microsoft Defender for Endpoint is a separate security suite for businesses. Microsoft has guidance on its website to help you understand the Endpoint version and how to switch between accounts.
If you aren’t a Microsoft 365 subscriber but want to get Microsoft Defender, a personal plan costs $70 a year, and a family plan for up to six people costs $100 a year. With a subscription to Microsoft…