Security Experts:

Microsoft Unveils Advanced Threat Protection Service

SAN FRANCISCO – RSA CONFERENCE 2016 – Microsoft today announced Windows Defender Advanced Threat Protection, a service designed to improve the protection it offers to enterprise customers.

In a recent blog post, Terry Myerson, Executive Vice President, Windows and Devices Group, explains that the new service was designed to help organizations detect, investigate, and respond to advanced attacks on their networks. Built on top of the security features integrated in Windows 10, the service brings a post-breach layer of protection to the Windows 10 security stack.

According to Myerson, Windows Defender Advanced Threat Protection combines both client technology built into Windows 10 and a cloud service, which allows it to detect threats missed by other security solutions. Furthermore, it provides enterprise security teams with information that can help investigate breaches across endpoints.

The new service was designed to offer details on who performed an attack, what assets were breached, and why the attack happened. Windows Defender Advanced Threat Protection takes advantage of Windows behavioral sensors, cloud based security analytics, and threat intelligence, combined with Microsoft’s intelligent security graph.

According to Microsoft, all data is augmented by security experts around the world, which allows the service to investigate alerts, explore the network for signs of attacks, and examine attacker actions on specific devices. The service was designed to analyze the state of machines and their activities over the last six months to offer information on the attack timeline.

Files and URLs can also be submitted to a cloud-based detonation service for deep examination on isolated virtual machines. Myerson also notes that the tech giant plans on adding remediation tools for affected endpoints in future updates to the Windows Advanced Threat Protection service.

Because the service is powered by a cloud backend, there will be no on premise server infrastructure or ongoing maintenance required.

With the new service, Microsoft is looking to tackle the increasingly sophisticated threats in today’s landscape, which include state-sponsored attacks, cyber-espionage and cyber terror. With the help of social engineering and zero-day vulnerabilities, sophisticated attackers manage to circumvent even powerful detection mechanisms to break into corporate networks, with thousands of such attacks reported last year alone.

Last year alone, over 707 million data records were compromised worldwide in 1,673 data breaches, with the largest being the Anthem breach, which resulted in the theft of 78.8 million records, a recent report from Gemalto’s Breach Level Index revealed.

Recent security breaches involved companies from various sectors, such as IT and security management services provider LandeskJD Wetherspoon, a major pub chain operating in the UK and Ireland, Chinese educational toy manufacturer VTech, or Chicago-based hotel operator Hyatt Hotels, which had its payment processing systems breached.

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