Microsoft is at the tip of the spear with such a technology. If you're aware, the company acquired RiskIQ for about $500 million. Over a year of work seems to have yielded a decent product, ready to deploy in PCs worldwide.
Throughout this piece, we’ll focus on Windows Defender about to spice things up with AI and what potential it holds for other anti-virus developers.
What happened after Microsoft’s purchase of RiskIQ?
Microsoft acquired RiskIQ, one of the leading authorities on cyber threat management, in July 2021. It was a critical merger as Eric Doerr, Microsoft’s VP for cloud security, announced that the organization would work on revamping the company’s cloud-based security services, such as Microsoft Windows Defender, Azure Defender, and Azure Sentinel.
The merger went ahead with more than $500 million in cash, so many experts speculated that Microsoft had big plans with its security services. It's not like there aren't many talented engineers in their divisions, but upgrading so enormously made people wonder about the product’s capabilities. Well, you can bet the hard work paid off.
Why is AI the next step in cybersecurity?
AI-based anti-virus applications are not brand new by any means. Companies like Avira and Avast offer anti-virus software with a built-in AI for improved threat visibility. Yet, there are various fields where they fall short.
Those are the ones this new Windows Defender AI focuses on. Let's go through each and observe how it takes the next step in cybersecurity.
Every digital security researcher faces an enormous challenge in determining points of vulnerability in a system. As various applications update to make the user experience smoother, it opens new opportunities for malware to infect. Sure, most of them get patched with updates, but sometimes it’s too late with the end-user paying the price with their leaked personal data.
An AI core puts a handle on the situation. Even with updates regarding virtual reality, it can monitor for vulnerability without a manual penetration test. It can examine the patch files pre-installation and alert the viewer whether they want to go ahead with the update.
There are various clones for both computers and mobile devices that dupe the users into downloading the wrong ones. As of July 2022, losses due to fake program scams have crossed $81 billion worldwide.
A human mind finds it challenging to differentiate between a fake and a genuine app. Microsoft Defender can scan for red flags from both the website and an installer package, alerting the user that it can be a malicious package. Moreover, it can automatically quarantine specific files before the virus can access your computer.
Today, hackers are more interested in gaining your personal information than ruining your system. It is why spyware is becoming more widespread. It is elusive as it doesn’t occupy any storage space on your drive, although it can still send information to its source when your computer remains active.
An AI can help reduce the risk from such threats as it can detect any unauthorized connections without a 3-hour scan from your end. Many security experts from Microsoft also claim that the Defender can soon monitor any unauthorized transmissions without the user’s permission.
How you can update your Windows Defender
There are still a few months till Microsoft rolls out this update, as the team is working on a few chinks in the armor. Although, you should expect that the update shall become available for all Windows 10/11 versions by the end of the year. To update Windows Defender on your PC:
More tips for PC security
In a broader sense, Microsoft Defender is becoming a new weapon in the current technological war between hackers and digital security experts. With it fully operational, other anti-virus companies might step in with improvements that can create a safer environment for all users. Considering how persistent connections and the blockchain concept are necessary for the internet’s future, this is a sigh of relief for many conglomerates that have billions of dollars invested in the initiative.
Still, it would be best not to let go of proven security measures. For instance, a Windows VPN can be incredibly useful for protecting your connection to the internet. A Virtual Private Network is an application that users can install like any other app. Then, they connect to remote servers, meaning their internet traffic gets rerouted through it.
Additionally, the traffic gets encrypted, meaning it becomes far more difficult to snoop on it. Considering the various ways of spying online, a VPN should be a part of your arsenal.