Using Windows Defender? Update It Now. Right Now.


Windows DefenderIt's not uncommon for security researchers and hackers to discover new ways of being able to attack computers that are connected to the internet (ie, yours and mine). Normally the attack takes the form of an infected file or email that hackers need to trick their victim into opening.

A new vulnerability discovered a couple of days ago, however, raises the bar. If someone sends you the infected file, you don't need to open it. You don't even need to know it's there. Because the weakness is in Windows Defender, the antivirus software that comes free with Windows. And as soon as Windows Defender scans the file (which it does quietly in the background, all the time), your computer is now compromised.

The fix is easy. Right-click on the Windows Defender shield icon in your status bar and open the program. Click on the Settings button towards the top right hand corner of the Defender screen, and scroll down to where the version information is shown. If your engine version is less than 13704, go back to the main Defender screen and click on Update Definitions. This will also update your engine.

If you use Windows Defender as your antivirus and security software, it's highly recommended that you do this as soon as you can.

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So, doesn't Windows Defender update itself with every "Full" scan? And why would you have Defender and NOT schedule a Full scan every night?

The same is true for Microsoft Security Essentials in Win 7. The current engine number is 1.1.13704.0. It should certainly have updated by now; to check the engine version: open MSE, click on small arrow head (triangle) immediately to the right of Help in the upper-right corner —> About.


The latest version is 1.1.13704.

Su -- with the W7 O/S Defender is not the same thing as Windows Defender which is the default AV scanner for W10. I have forgotten whether W8 uses the W10 Windows Defender. It is another problem with MS using the same of similar names for programs such as this or things such as Explorer and Internet Explorer. If still using Essentials, it is likely a good idea to do any updates but having Defender in W7 turned off is just fine as is.

Thank you very much!

I use Windows 7 on a PC. I have Defender turned off because I use Essentials. Would I need to activate Defender and update it? I would appreciate any help, please?

Rob, thanks for this heads-up. I'm on Win 8.1. In my version of Defender, the info on the Engine version is seen when you click the little down arrow next to the word "Help" in the upper right corner of the Windows Defender window. The down arrow is visible no matter which tab ("Home", "Update", "History", "Settings") you have open.

Excellent advise!

I have Windows 10 and have been using Windows Defender for a while, since I was tired of the bloated antivirures, so far Windows Defender has been working outstanding!