Microsoft Defender Is Getting an AI Upgrade

The company’s purchase of RiskIQ means that Defender will soon get a powerful AI core under its hood.

A little while ago, Microsoft bought up an AI security company called RiskIQ, and then went silent about its purchase. Now, the company is ready to show off what it has been cooking up by introducing a new, AI-fuelled version of Microsoft Defender.

When Microsoft and RiskIQ Come Together

As spotted by TechCrunch, Microsoft is bringing the RiskIQ technology into its free antivirus, Microsoft Defender. This is the first time we’ve seen Microsoft do something with its RiskIQ purchase that it made back in July 2021.

With the acquisition, Microsoft could put RiskIQ’s core into Defender for even better protection. Vasu Jakkal from Microsoft informed TechCrunch about what this meant for the antivirus:

“Our mission is to build a safer world for all — and threat intelligence is [at] the heart of it. If you don’t know what’s happening in the world around you, it’s very hard to understand what to do about it and how to act on it. Microsoft has the largest breadth and depth of threat signals today — we are tracking, as we just announced in our earnings, 43 trillion signals [each day] which we see from identities, from devices, from platforms, from email, collab tools.”

That’s not to say that Microsoft is handing the reins over to the AI and letting it do all the heavy lifting. Jakkal went on to explain that the AI can harvest data about the attacks currently circulating around the internet, and present it to a human so that they can better decide the best course of action for defending users.

AI: The New Front for Cybersecurity

Microsoft’s decision to invest in AI is a very sound one. Right now, there’s an AI-based technology war going on between malware developers and antivirus researchers.

Malware developers utilize AI to make their programs better at dodging detection and striking exactly where it needs to attack. And in response, cybersecurity experts also use AI to detect patterns and flag malicious activity, even before humans realize that something’s fishy.

As such, Microsoft’s inclusion of RiskIQ in its Defender program will help it detect issues on the fly, without the need for virus definitions. And if AI is the way to go for the future, Microsoft has managed to secure itself a great asset for its Defender antivirus.

A More Powerful Defender

With Microsoft now showing off the fruit of its RiskIQ purchase, Defender is about to get a lot better. And given the threats going around online, it’s probably exactly what the company needed.

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