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Windows 10 antivirus will soon get better at protecting the most at-risk users

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High-profile employees, those that may have access to the most critical data and applications, will soon be provided with more robust protection within Microsoft Defender for Office 365. Priority Account Protection, which is currently in public preview, allows security teams to install custom defence mechanisms for the most important accounts.

Although threat actors still sometimes cast their net wide, increasingly they are focusing on targets that offer the biggest rewards. These are often C-suite executives that have access to the most sensitive, and therefore valuable, data. Earlier this year, for example, it was revealed that Russian state-backed hackers appeared to be targeting specific individuals as part of an airport Wi-Fi hack.

“In response to the changed realities of this increasingly sophisticated and targeted threat landscape, organizations need differentiated protection for their most visible and targeted employees,” Girish Chander, Partner Group Program Manager and Head of Product at Microsoft Defender for Office 365, explained. “This is often the members of the C-suite who routinely deal with sensitive and secret information and have the added advantage (from the attacker’s point of view) of being extremely visible and research-able. However, individuals in the C-suite are not the only ones that can be targeted. Very often, users lower down in the organization hierarchy have access to critical tools and information. And these users make prime targets as well.”

High-risk users

Priority Account Protection allows organizations to prioritize threat investigations and alerts when they target specific users. Priority account tags and filters will be included throughout Microsoft Defender for Office 365, including in Campaign Views, Threat Explorer and reports.

Because many companies already have a dedicated team investigating online threats, all malicious emails are automatically quarantined by Defender for Office 365, allowing security personnel to study attack patterns. Priority Account Protection will be integrated within this quarantine feature over the next few months, making it easier to filter and tag malicious emails targeting the C-suite.

Via Bleeping Computer