Microsoft to Extend Windows Defender ATP Support to Windows 7 and 8.1

This summer, Microsoft will bring its threat protection product for Windows 10 to the operating system's predecessors.

Windows 7, Windows 8.1 Security

Windows Defender Advanced Threat Protection (ATP), a suite of security services that helps Windows 10 systems block emerging and sophisticated attacks, is coming this summer to Windows 7 and Windows 8.1.

Windows Defender ATP combines behavioral analytics, machine learning and threat intelligence collected by Microsoft's cloud services slate and Windows systems in the wild. The result is a system that can detect zero-day attacks and prevent data breaches, one of the most pressing problems faced by businesses and consumers today.

In November 2017, Uber revealed that it was hit with a massive data breach in late 2016 affecting the personally identifiable information of 56 million of the app's users and 600,000 drivers. The ride-hailing company reportedly paid hackers $100,000 to delete the stolen information.

Mobile phone maker OnePlus was struck by an attack that stretched from mid-November 2017 to Jan. 11, exposing credit card information on up to 40,000 customers. Equifax dominated headlines in September 2017 when the credit monitoring agency revealed a breach that exposed the personally identifiable information of 143 million Americans. In addition to sparking a congressional hearing, the incident claimed the jobs of Equifax CEO and Chairman of the Board Richard Smith, Chief Information Officer David Webb and Chief Security Officer Susan Mauldin.

To help ensure that IT executives don't lose their customer data or their livelihoods, at least due to their aging Windows 7 and 8.1 PCs, this summer Microsoft plans to extend Windows Defender ATP support, particularly its Endpoint Detection and Response (EDR) functionality, to these operating systems.

"For Windows 7 and Windows 8.1, we are building a behavioral based EDR solution to give security teams rich insights into threats on their endpoints. All detections and events are surfaced in Windows Defender Security Center, the cloud-based console for Windows Defender ATP," said Rob Lefferts, partner director of the Windows and Devices Group, Security and Enterprise unit at Microsoft in a Feb. 12 announcement. "Security teams benefit from correlated alerts for known and unknown adversaries, additional threat intelligence, and a detailed machine timeline for further investigations and manual response options."

A public beta test version will be available in the spring for customers wishing to evaluate how the security system works on Windows 7 and 8.1 ahead of its summer release. Although Windows Defender ATP can run alongside third-party antivirus software, Lefferts recommends using it in tandem with Windows Defender Antivirus or System Center Endpoint Protection, a setup that enables security teams to view malware detections and take actions to stop the spread of malware using a single management console.

Lefferts also announced a fourth cyber-security partner that is extending Windows Defender ATP's safeguards to non-Windows devices.

Existing partners Bitdefender, Lookout and Ziften offer systems that allow organizations to monitor and respond to threats targeting their iOS, Android, macOS and Linux devices. SentinelOne is now joining the ranks with its Endpoint Protection Platform, a product that inspects encrypted traffic and combines behavioral and static artificial intelligence engines to detect threats.

Pedro Hernandez

Pedro Hernandez

Pedro Hernandez is a contributor to eWEEK and the IT Business Edge Network, the network for technology professionals. Previously, he served as a managing editor for the Internet.com network of...