Formerly a Windows 10 exclusive, Microsoft today announced that Windows Defender Advanced Threat Protection (ATP) is coming to Windows 7 and Windows 8.1.
That's not to say that the older operating systems are set to gain the full benefit of ATP, however. Microsoft says that it is the Endpoint Detection & Response (EDR) functionality that will make its way to Windows 7 and 8.1 at some point this summer. This cloud-driven feature will be made available as a preview in the spring.
Microsoft notes that while one of the main reasons cited for upgrading to Windows 10 is the improved security, there are still plenty of organizations that are still running slightly older operating systems. The company says the backporting of Windows Defender ATP to Windows 7 and 8.1 is a way to "help our customers achieve the best security possible on their way to Windows 10 ahead of the end of support for Windows 7 in January 2020."
Writing on the Windows blog, Microsoft says:
For Windows 7 and Windows 8.1, we are building a behavioral based EDR solution to give security teams rich insights into threats on their endpoints. All detections and events are surfaced in Windows Defender Security Center, the cloud-based console for Windows Defender ATP. Security teams benefit from correlated alerts for known and unknown adversaries, additional threat intelligence, and a detailed machine timeline for further investigations and manual response options.
Although this solution can run side-by-side with third-party antivirus solutions, it is better together with Windows Defender Antivirus (also known as System Center Endpoint Protection (SCEP) for down-level). With Windows Defender Antivirus, security teams can see all malware detections and trigger response actions to prevent the spread of malware, in the same console.
The company also says that it has been working with its partners to help Windows Defender ATP better detect threat not only to Windows, but also macOS, Linux, iOS, and Android devices.