Microsoft may not be designing phones any more, but the company has continued to develop services for both Android as well as Apple’s Macs. What looks like a Windows Defender preview for both Android has appeared in the Microsoft Store.
Microsoft Defender Preview is listed on the Microsoft Store app, with Microsoft listed as the publisher. Though the app can be downloaded and installed, we wouldn’t recommend trying out untrusted software without scanning it with Windows Defender proper, or running it on a virtual machine. When we did so, however, it didn’t seem to do anything.
The app’s description, however, is more telling. “Security, simplified. Microsoft Defender is your personal defense against digital threats,” it reads. “Secure your devices across operating systems including Windows, Apple, and Android.”
Windows Defender is the name of Microsoft’s antimalware protection for Windows, which has evolved from rather mediocre security to one of the better antimalware solutions available. Now, it appears that Microsoft wants to migrate Defender further.
Technically, the Defender Preview has been “available” for some time. But we have some new leaked images of what could be the app in action. Aggiornamenti Lumia, which has also leaked upcoming Windows features on Twitter, published a pair of images that imply that Defender will be used to scan files and apps across Macs as well as Android devices. “Web protection” is also listed as a feature, implying that the software could be used to evaluate Internet links as well.
Microsoft already makes a number of its apps and services available on other platforms: Bing, Microsoft Edge, and Microsoft’s Office apps all appear on Android, as does Teams for consumers. Microsoft Office has been ported to the Mac too. Microsoft 365 Family ($99.99/year, for up to six people on PC, Mac, iOS, and Android) is cross-platform as well and Defender could be rolled into that. We won’t know what Microsoft’s plans are, however, until if and when Microsoft launches it.
As PCWorld's senior editor, Mark focuses on Microsoft news and chip technology, among other beats. He has formerly written for PCMag, BYTE, Slashdot, eWEEK, and ReadWrite.