Introducing Microsoft Defender Application Guard

For as long as I know, Microsoft has been doing its bit to safeguard the contents, files, and data of Office users. In regards to that, it has released the public preview of “Microsoft Defender Application Guard” a few days ago.

When I first heard of this defensive technology, I was curious to know about it. Hence, I am giving this preview after reading all the brief points given in the article is support of the Application Guard.

As the name itself suggests, we can easily guess that it is something that will reduce the chances of data breach which is a very common scenario nowadays. Most importantly, this technology blocks off any files that have a malicious file in it.

A brief overview

In simpler terms, you would be able to open the file but in a different location that is separated from your device’s operating system or its programs. This location is termed by the experts as a “Hyper-V enabled container”. It also contains a Virtual Machine that quarantines the file containing a malicious code to a different location other than your PC.

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This mechanism makes sure that your system remains unaffected by any infected files. As we move on to explain it further, we get to learn that the Application Guard can be used in two different modes. The first one is “Enterprise Management Mode” which will be specifically made available for the business enterprises. While the other one is known as “Standalone Mode”.

Following are given the opportunity to use the guard

The list given below includes the ones for whom this defensive technology has been built exclusively:

  • The PCs of the users which are connected through a single domain. It may include laptops, desktops, and computers.
  • The personal laptops of those whose systems are connected through Microsoft Intune are also given the privilege to use this new feature.
  • If your personal device is not connected through any such tool, then also you will get the opportunity to use this feature. But, there is a catch, only those users will be able to use it whose device undergoes a high-bandwidth usage on any network.
  • However, the Standalone Mode allows users to carry forward their safe browsing sessions on the go. That too, without having to make any changes to the management settings.
  • To use the App Guard, one must download and install it first and then he will be able to continue the safe browsing session.

Which Office files are scanned by the guard?

Currently, those files which used to open in “Protected View” will now open in the new mode. When the Microsoft Defender Application Guard will be launched, the files will then open in that mode.

  • The files that you download from the Internet from known or unknown locations.
  • Those files whose location is suspicious or it is potentially unsafe. It may be a temporary folder or any other location.
  • When you receive some mails in Outlook from suspicious users that contain some harmful links which if clicked may compromise your system.

The date of the launch of Microsoft Defender Application Guard on its official portal still remains unknown. As soon as it is rolled out, make sure to install it on all the devices of your organization.

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