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Microsoft: Defender ATP is coming to Linux in 2020

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Ignite 2019: Microsoft details its efforts to level the playing field against cyber attackers.




Microsoft announced the brand change from Windows Defender to Microsoft Defender in March after giving security analysts the tools to inspect enterprise Mac computers for malware via the Microsoft Defender console.    


Rob Lefferts, corporate vice president for Microsoft's M365 Security, told ZDNet that Microsoft Defender for Linux systems will be available for customers in 2020. 


Application Guard is also coming to all Office 365 documents. Previously, this security feature was only available in Edge and allowed users to safely open a webpage in an isolated virtual machine to protect them from malware. Now, users who open Office 365 apps, like Word or Excel, will have the same protection. 


"It's coming in preview first, but when you get an untrusted document with potentially malicious macros via email, it will open in a container," he said.  


It means when an attacker attempts to download more code from the internet and then install malware on the machine, the machine is a VM, so the victim never actually installs the malware. 


The move should help protect against phishing and other attacks that attempt to trick users into exiting from Protected View, which prevents users from running macros by default.  


Lefferts will also discuss how Microsoft is protecting organizations from sophisticated malware attackers who are exploiting the 'information parity problem' – a highbrow term for how aspects of a network can influence its overall design. 


"Defenders have to know everything perfectly and attackers only need to know one thing kind of well. The point is, it's not a level playing field and it's getting worse," said Lefferts. 


Key to this ability is the Microsoft Security Intelligent Graph that Microsoft is selling to enterprise customers. But what exactly is the Microsoft Intelligent Security Graph? 


"It's built into Defender ATP, Office 365, and Azure. We have signals built into events, behaviors, and things as simple as a user logged on to a machine or as complicated as the behavior of the memory layout in Word on this device is different to what it normally looks like," explained Lefferts. 


"Essentially we have sensors across all the identities, endpoints, cloud apps, and infrastructure and they're sending all of this to a central place inside Microsoft's cloud."


Microsoft doesn't mean physical sensors in the context of its Intelligent Security Graph but rather pieces of code sitting inside its various applications that feed into to the Intelligent Security Graph. 


The idea is to assist security teams to solve challenges differently to the way humans would do it. 


"Humans aren't great at huge numbers, but this is the place where machines can provide new insight."


Microsoft's evidence that it is making a difference is that it has helped prevent 13.5 billion malicious emails so far in 2019, and Lefferts expects Microsoft to have blocked 14 billion by the end of the year. The company has highlighted its work in defending US and European political organizations against cyberattacks ahead of the 2020 US presidential mid-term elections.  


"Defending democracy is a big point for us because we're making sure we take all the capabilities we're building here and use it to help organizations and governments around the world," he said.


"The goal is to help defenders cut through the noise and prioritize important work and be ready to help protect and respond, both smarter and faster using signals from Windows, Office, and Azure."


The key tool Microsoft is introducing now is automated remediation for Office 365 customers that have Microsoft Threat Protection. 


"There's a kill chain that represents every step an attacker takes as they move through the organization. When you find that going on, you want to ensure that you clean up the whole thing," said Lefferts. 


For example, a hacker breaches a network through a phishing email, installs malware on the device, and then moves laterally to critical infrastructure, such as an email server or domain controller. The hacker can maintain a presence on the network for potentially years.


"The whole point about automation is finding all the compromised accounts and resetting those passwords, finding all the users who got malicious emails and scrubbing them out of inboxes, and finding all the devices that were impacted and isolating them, quarantining them, and cleaning them."  


Lefferts was careful not to use the word artificial intelligence and stressed that Microsoft's technologies are aimed at "augmentation of people" in security teams or "exoskeletons" for people rather than robots. 


So how would it help enterprise organizations respond to the next NotPetya ransomware outbreak? 


NotPetya spread initially through a poisoned update from a Ukraine-based accounting software firm, crippling several global firms, including Maersk and Mondelez. 


"The first thing is that it happens faster than the vendors can respond, which is a huge issue. [Responders] really need the augmentation that we're talking about so that they can go faster.


There are also so many opportunities for defenders to intermediate and break the kill chain and fix everything. And we want to make sure we can work across that kill chain."


Microsoft will also roll out new features for customers using Office 365 Advanced Threat Protection, offering admins a better overview of targeted phishing attacks. The idea is to subvert typical strategies that attackers use to avoid detection, such as sending email from different IP addresses.


"However they pick their targets, they're going to have a factory where they're going to build a campaign that they're going to direct at those targets. And they will keep iterating on all the pieces of that campaign to see what's most effective at getting past the defenders and how they best trick the user into clicking something," said Lefferts. 


"It shows up as an onslaught of email across multiple users within the organization – sometimes just a few, sometimes in the hundreds. What we give defenders is a view of what's happening.


There's email coming from different IP addresses and different sender domains and it's got different components in it because they keep running different experiments. We put the whole picture together to show you the flow, how it evolved over time."



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Edward Raja

That will be favorable for enterprises, but whether they do the same for regular home users is a one big question.

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3 hours ago, Edward Raja said:

That will be favorable for enterprises, but whether they do the same for regular home users is a one big question.

I doubt many home users would touch it ,  since many Linux users went to Linux to get away from Microsoft and there fud, there already many Antivirus on Linux and mostly only servers use them that handle  lots of Windows files because it's important  not to spreed windows malware back to windows users even though Linux dont have Virus and Windows  malware wont live in  Linux ,  but it can be used to spread it back to Windows only they have some Linux malware not much that most Antivirus can't even detect. Also Microsoft is making a Linux chip and security service for IOT .


Microsoft dont even care about witch OS there software run on anymore they only care about selling you a service . Windows 10 home is crippleware if  they dont care about selling to there own stuff to consumers why  would they care about Linux consumers?  They not bring anything useful to Linux that not for businesses just like dont bring nothing useful to Windows Home  anymore and antivirus is not  really useful to Linux  home users and they can just install open source Clam TK  if  it makes them fell better . Just like when when they started bundling defender in Windows 8.1 and newer its not something Windows users had to have  they all kinds of protection for Windows not made by Microsoft and they made Windows for ages without any and the versions without it sold better than Windows 10 does .:lmao:


Its like EDGE there bringing to Linux they not even sold Windows users  on it yet , but in order to be able to compete with  any browser that not made by Apple  they have  to make it for every platform .  Microsoft is changing with the times  because all the other browser are already on Linux. But  any antivirus for Linux  consumers want ever be used much but on mail servers  and stuff Linux can use it. IOT needs security as well because  it never gets updates  like  Linux for computers do . Linux Desktop users update there systems more than any other port of Linux .PC Linux  gets security  updates faster than any other Linux or Windows as well..


I dont even use defender on Windows so why would I use it on Linux  at home ?:unsure:


I only have Clam TK  and it never gets root of my system i only use to scan files on demand .  Other Antivirus for Linux want root  witch is a security risk itself  and im not going to give a closed source app that  kind of privileges . Besides its not even something i have to have like it is on Windows. But Linux servers  were run the  internet needs them because Windows users be downloading files from Linux   24/7  not from home users but from websites that run on Linux.


Even this website run on Linux . Microsoft have more Linux users on Azure now than they have Windows users  so they already make tons of money off Linux .


Most Linux Home users who dont know anything about Linux for business cussed this News out because they seen it as a Microsoft power grab but they are noobs  about business and don't know its very useful for Microsoft customers who use Windows and Linux .


Many Linux users don't trust Microsoft  very much. It's wise not too  they even treat  there own Windows 7 consumers   and Windows 10 consumers bad now days they  force Windows 7 users on to Windows 10 back in 2015-2016  and if you going use new hardware your going to be forced to use windows 10 and be a labrat testing unstable updates for business. The only reprieve  home users have is Windows piracy , Linux ,  Chrome OS , Mac  or smartphones . there like 3 billion smartphone users now.


Most home users  are smartphones users now or are pirates.  Microsoft not made much off them since Windows 7 was new.  People was the cause of Microsoft becoming mostly just business centered  company except for gaming  witch dont make much money like it did . Sony and others sell more consoles . Windows gaming is a victim of piracy too.

Edited by steven36

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