Microsoft is testing the new cloud-based Microsoft Defender for home users

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Microsoft announced that the company’s new cloud-based Microsoft Defender security solution has entered preview for home customers in the United States.

The new app was announced with the release of Windows 11 Insider Preview Build 22572, now available in the Dev Channel (we were also able to install it on previously released Insider builds).

“The key to Microsoft Defender is the ability to view and manage your online safety in one central dashboard view, across all your devices and the devices of your family members,” the Windows Insider team said. .

“Plus, get additional protections against malware and phishing on your mobile devices. The ability to view your family’s devices is currently only available in the Windows app.”

Currently, Microsoft Defender can be downloaded as an app for Windows 10, Windows 11, Android and iOS devices, with Redmond still working on a macOS app which will also be previewed soon.

Microsoft Defender Threat
Microsoft Defender Threat Alert (BleepingComputer)

Microsoft Defender Preview provides users with a dashboard to manage and monitor the security status of their devices, along with real-time malware protection and threat scanning.

It also contains security alerts and recommendations, including real-time warnings about changes in the security status of your devices and suggestions to keep your data and devices safe.

Microsoft says Malware Protection is available for Windows PCs and Android phones, while Anti-Phishing Protection is available for Android and iOS phones. Malware protection is not supported on iPhones because Apple already provides it.

During preview, you can download and use the Microsoft Defender app on five devices per person, including a Windows computer, iPhone, or Android phone.

Microsoft Defender iOS
Microsoft Defender iOS (BleepingComputer)

Hands-on with Microsoft Defender Preview

While Microsoft paints a nice picture of Microsoft Defender Preview’s capabilities, in reality, the app is still in its infancy.

Today, BleepingComputer tested Microsoft Defender Preview, and the app is more of a front end to the underlying Windows security infrastructure.

While using the app, we could add devices to our cloud dashboard and monitor their protection status. However, it is not possible to control a security function on the main device or the connected devices.

The new Microsoft Defender functions as an interface for Windows Security and a dashboard to view security alerts and recommendations for enrolled devices.

“In some situations, you’ll need to use the Windows Security app, but Microsoft Defender will log you into that app,” Microsoft explains.

“For example, to run a manual scan on a Windows device or to manage your allow list, you should click ‘Manage in Windows Security’ from within Microsoft Defender where you will receive further guidance.”

Overview of Microsoft Defender
Overview of Microsoft Defender (BleepingComputer)

BleepingComputer also ran a test where we downloaded several malware samples to a connected device.

Although these samples were detected and reflected (very briefly) in the Microsoft Defender Preview app, they never appeared in cloud dashboard security alerts for a Windows 11 device, with the Defender Dashboard continuing to say that the device was protected and has no problems.

However, the Microsoft Defender Dashboard performed very well for one of our test Windows 10 devices, showing a “Needs attention” status after detecting the malware.

Overview of Microsoft Defender
Overview of Microsoft Defender (BleepingComputer)

You can get the Microsoft Defender for Windows app from the Microsoft Store, iPhones from the App Store, and Android phones through Google Play.

You can find more information about how you can add new devices to your account on the Adding devices to your Microsoft Defender account support page.

You don’t currently need a subscription to use Microsoft Defender Preview; however, the app will require a Microsoft 365 Family or Personal subscription.

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