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Android public preview2.png

 

We are excited to announce the public preview of our mobile threat defense capabilities with Microsoft Defender ATP for Android. As Rob Lefferts, Corporate Vice President, Microsoft 365 Security and Compliance, mentioned in his blog, the threats in the mobile space are unique, and as more and more people use mobile devices for work, the need for organizations to protect data that is accessed through their users’ devices is increasingly imperative.

 

After offering a preview of these capabilities at RSA Conference 2020, we were thrilled by the response from our customers and the industry. Over the last several months, we’ve been working closely with customers who are our design partners, listening to their feedback, and enhancing the product.

 

Key Capabilities

The public preview of Microsoft Defender ATP for Android will offer protection against phishing and unsafe network connections from apps, websites, and malicious apps. In addition, the ability to restrict access to corporate data from devices that are deemed “risky” will enable enterprises to secure users and data on their Android devices. All events and alerts will be available through a single pane of glass in the Microsoft Defender Security Center, giving security teams a centralized view of threats on Android devices along with other platforms. These capabilities empower enterprises to enable strong security while ensuring their employees remain productive working on their Android devices. Let’s dive into each of these capabilities in more detail.

 

Web protection

Phishing is one of the biggest threat vectors on mobile, with the majority of attacks happening outside of email such as via phishing sites, messaging apps, games, and other applications. Other potential threats come from apps which may make connections to unsafe domains, unknowingly to the user and security teams. Web protection capabilities in Microsoft Defender ATP for Android help to address these challenges with:

  1. Anti-phishing: Access to unsafe websites from SMS/text, WhatsApp, email, browsers, and other apps is instantly blocked. To do this, we leverage the Microsoft Defender SmartScreen service to help determine whether a URL is potentially malicious. This works in conjunction with Android to enable the app to inspect the URL to provide anti-phishing protection. If access to a malicious site is blocked, the device user will get a notification about this with the options to allow the connection, report it safe, or dismiss the notification. Security teams are notified about attempts to access malicious sites via an alert in the Microsoft Defender Security Center.
  2. Blocking unsafe connections: The same Microsoft Defender SmartScreen technology is used to also block unsafe network connections that apps automatically might make on the user’s behalf without them knowing. Just as in the phishing example, the user is immediately informed that this activity is blocked and is given the same choices to allow it, report it as unsafe, or dismiss the notification as the product screenshot shows. Alerts for this scenario also show up in the Microsoft Defender Security Center. When these connections are attempted on a user’s device, security teams are notified of this via an alert in the Microsoft Defender Security Center.  
  3. Custom indicators: Security teams can create custom indicators, giving them more fine-grained control over allowing and blocking URLs and domains users connect to from their Android devices. This can be done in the Microsoft Defender Security Center and is an extension of our custom indicators capability already available for Windows.

Unsafe site2.pngConnectionblocked.png

Malware scanning

Enterprises deploying Android can leverage built-in protections in the Android platform to limit installation of apps to trusted sources as well as tools like Google Play Protect to significantly reduce the threat surface of potentially harmful apps being installed on devices. Microsoft Defender ATP fortifies this by introducing additional visibility and controls to deliver further assurances on keeping devices free of threats to device security.

 

Microsoft Defender ATP for Android uses cloud protection powered by deep learning and heuristics to provide coverage for low-fidelity signals which are inconclusively handled by signatures, in addition to offering signature based malware detection. This protection extends to both malicious apps and files on the device.

 

Scans are instantly performed detect malware and potentially unwanted applications (PUA). If a safe app is downloaded, the end user will see a lightweight notification letting them know the app is clean.

 

ThreatFound.png

Blocking access to sensitive data

Additional layers of protection against malicious access to sensitive corporate information is offered by integrating with Microsoft Endpoint Manager, which includes both Microsoft Intune and Configuration Manager. For example, a compromised device would be blocked from accessing Outlook email. When Microsoft Defender ATP for Android finds that a device has malicious apps installed, it will classify the device as “high risk” and will flag it in the Microsoft Defender Security Center. Microsoft Intune uses the device’s risk level in conjunction with pre-defined compliance polices to activate Conditional Access rules that block access to corporate assets from the high risk device. The screenshot shows an example of how the end-user would get a notification that their device doesn’t comply with their organization’s policies, and how to remediate. Once the malicious app is uninstalled, access to corporate assets is restored automatically for the mobile device. You can learn about how to set up this integration in our documentation.

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Unified SecOps experience

The Microsoft Defender Security Center acts as the single pane of glass experience for security teams to get a centralized view of threats and activities. All the alerts for phishing and malware on Android devices are surfaced here. As part of the alert, analysts see the name of the threat, its severity, the alert process tree for the incident, and other additional context including file details and associated SHA information. Android device related alerts also roll up into the incident where analysts can get a more holistic view of attacks associated with a device.

 

In the devices list, Android devices are also visible with their associated risk levels. In the device information page, security analysts can see the number of incidents, active alerts, and logged on users associated with the device.

 

This is the same familiar experience that we deliver to security teams for Windows, Mac, and Linux.

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We’re excited to be sharing these new features with you. In the coming months, we’ll be rolling out more capabilities for Android and we’ll be releasing Microsoft Defender ATP for iOS later this year – stay tuned!

 

Getting started with Microsoft Defender ATP for Android

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.

 

Join us as we advance in our journey across platforms. For more information, including detailed system requirements, prerequisites, deployment and configuration steps, and a list of improvements and new features, check out the documentation.

 

To share feedback, you can use the “send feedback” option in the Microsoft Defender ATP for Android app.

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If you’re not yet taking advantage of Microsoft’s industry leading security optics and detection capabilities for endpoints, sign up for a free trial of Microsoft Defender ATP today.

 

23 Comments
Visitor

This is so awesome! Can't wait to try it out.

I know IOS is "later this year" but is there any more information if it is in Q3 or Q4?

Have a great you all!

Senior Member

great work! this is amazing! :lol:

Senior Member

Should we assume an E5 license is required?

Occasional Visitor

Great to see the move into protection of Mobile as its needed, big concern is privacy of these users as it looks like the detection is in the cloud, could you confirm?

Occasional Contributor

How long does it take for the preview to be activated? 
I've send out a mail to mdatpmobile@microsoft.com with our Google Play org ID, but one week later we haven't got a reply nor are we able to import the Defender app in Google Play for Android Enterprise.

Microsoft

@bthomas - Sorry about the inconvenience caused. Your second e-mail for preview just came thru and has been approved. Sorry, your first e-mail doesn't seem to have made it thru and thanks for following up. Look forward to your feedback on the preview. Preview instructions are available in the e-mail sent to you.

 

Thanks

Ashwin

Occasional Contributor

@Ashwin_msft Thanks for the follow up and response! 

Senior Member

I would also be interested about the licensing prerequisites.

@Simes27622762@Friedrich Grosseibel Licensing details around Android and iOS will become available as we get closer to GA

Senior Member

@Kanishka_Srivastava No hints then?

Microsoft

@Simes27622762 - we don't have any details or hints on the licensing to share at this time. 

New Contributor

What Android versions are supported? All the way back to Marshmallow, or something different?

Microsoft

@VesaP1695 - Android 6.0 (Marshmallow) & above.

Regular Visitor

First impressions: I onboarded my android phone the day this was announced.  We're encouraged by this as an alternative to options such as Lookout.  Onboarding was easy enough, but it opens a persistent connection to Microsoft, and takes up far more power than any other applications on my phone (20%).  It actually "overloaded" my s10 and was forced to shut down.  I haven't had that happen before.  Feedback has been submitted.  I understand this is in preview and it will be improved before general availability.  I will say that it will require a good deal of attention to power usage if it's going to be something our organization can use.  Curious if anyone else has had this issue.

 

*UPDATE 8.6.20* - According to Microsoft: We have resolved battery consumption issues in latest build 1.0.1928.0203. We will be sharing this build soon. Please look forward for the communications on the same. If you see any issue please submit feedback thru In-app feedback with diagnostics turned on.

 

As expected, It doesn't include any timeline info in the security center or allow use of any of the more advanced actions that can be performed on Win 10 devices.  I haven't run across anything it blocks me from accessing as of yet.

 

RE: Licensing.  I'm also curious how that will be handled, especially for frontline workers.  A standalone license would need to be made available.

Senior Member

My test device is a Blackberry Key2 and I do not see a big decrease with the battery. On the other hand I only use the device for testing so I can’t tell. 

That the app needs to be constantly running however is understandable in my opinion. I guess however this can be tuned in future releases. 

I am looking forward to the iOS variant of the ATP protection where this for sure is more tricky in regards of background activity etc. 

Occasional Contributor

"It doesn't include any timeline info in the security center"

and IMHO it should stay this way to avoid battery drain or hitting mobile data limit on metered data plan.

Regular Visitor

"and IMHO it should stay this way to avoid battery drain or hitting mobile data limit on metered data plan."

Agreed - was just pointing it out in case anyone was wondering.

Occasional Contributor

Running this on my OnePlus 6T without any concerning battery issues so far. 

 

Are there plans to have software inventory and discovered vulnerabilities for the mobile devices? I'm also wondering is this would then show the apps that are not running in the Android Enterprise Work Profile or also apps running in the personal profile. Having COPE in mind for future deployments, this will be important for some customers.

Senior Member

Microsoft Rocks !

New Contributor

Hi,

 

We have malicious URLs blocked at ATP/ MS 365 Security, on the windows Client the Defender is blocking it successfully but on the Android this URL still available, the MSATP do nothing.

 

The Android Device is also available/register at Microsoft Defender Security Center with Health State "active" but Exposure level "No data available" and Risk Level "No know risk" :(. Last seen from today, so I assume that the connection between ATP and the Android Device is "alive".

 

I have send a Mail to "atpm@microsoft.com" and also as Feedback trough the App but still no receive any "help",

 

@Kanishka_Srivastava  , could you please tell me who I need to contact for this issue/ problem?

 

Best regards

@Mela1984 thanks for reaching out. We'll work with you over mail to troubleshoot the issue.

 

 

Frequent Visitor

Excited to try this out. Glad to see experiences so far have been good.

Occasional Contributor

Any visibility as to when this will be available in GCC High/Azure Gov?