Microsoft's antivirus now protects Android and Linux -- but there's a catch

Microsoft logo displayed on an Android smartphone resting on the keyboard of a Windows laptop.
(Image credit: rafapress/Shutterstock)

Microsoft is bringing its Defender Advanced Threat Protection antivirus solution to more third-party operating systems, after debuting Defender ATP for Mac in 2019.

On Tuesday (June 23), a Microsoft blog post confirmed that Defender ATP was rolling out to enterprise customers with Linux servers, and also unveiled a public preview for Android.

The tech giant said: "To meet our customers where they are and relieve customer challenges in managing multiple security solutions to protect their unique range of platforms and products, we have been working to extend the richness of Microsoft Defender ATP to non-Windows platforms."

For administrators of Linux servers, they're provided with a command-line product that monitors and detects security threats via the Microsoft Defender Security Center. 

It supports Red Hat Enterprise Linux 7.2+, CentOS Linux 7.2+, Ubuntu 16 LTS or higher LTS, SUSE Linux Enterprise Server 12+, Debian 9+ as well as Oracle Linux 7.2, and can be configured and deployed through Puppet, Ansible or other Linux-configuration management tools. 

Microsoft has released detailed documentation on installing, configuring, updating and using Defender ATP for Linux.

According to Microsoft, Linux Users get "strong preventive capabilities, a full command-line experience on the client to configure and manage the agent, initiate scans, manage threats, and a familiar integrated experience for machines and alert monitoring in the Microsoft Defender Security Center".

Microsoft's Android antivirus enters beta mode

As well as rolling out support for Linux users, Microsoft has also released a public preview of Microsoft Defender ATP for Android.

The firm claims that Microsoft Defender ATP for Android will protect against phishing, scan for malware, prevent and limit organisational breaches, and provide a unified security experience so that users can see threats across all platforms. 

To access the preview, Microsoft said: "Those customers that have preview features turned on can start trying out Microsoft Defender ATP for Android today. If you haven't yet opted in, we encourage you to turn on preview features in the Microsoft Defender Security Center today."

As with the Defender ATP solutions for Mac and Linux, the Android software won't be available to consumers any time soon. Only subscribers to Microsoft's various business-security solutions can install or use it.

However, all PCs with Windows 10 ship with the consumer counterpart to Microsoft Defender, otherwise known as Windows Defender Antivirus.

Nicholas Fearn is a freelance technology journalist and copywriter from the Welsh valleys. His work has appeared in publications such as the FT, the Independent, the Daily Telegraph, The Next Web, T3, Android Central, Computer Weekly, and many others. He also happens to be a diehard Mariah Carey fan!