About Security Intelligence Updates for Microsoft Defender

Martin Brinkmann
Jul 31, 2019
Security, Windows

If you administrate systems protected by Windows Defender, the default antivirus solution that is included in Windows, you may have noticed that Windows Update downloaded a definitions update called Security Intelligence Update for Windows Defender Antivirus.

Windows Update downloaded Definition Update for Windows Defender Antivirus previously. Did Microsoft change the name of the definition update files, or are there differences between Security Intelligence Updates and Definition Updates for Windows Defender Antivirus?

The short answer for those who are in a hurry: Microsoft changed the name from Definition Update for Windows Defender Antivirus to Security Intelligence Update for Windows Defender Antivirus.

Is it a permanent change or a one-time change? We don't know, because Microsoft did not announce the change. The most likely scenario is that it is a permanent change.

security intelligence update for windows defender antivirus

Microsoft likes to rename products and services. The company changed Office Online to Office in 2019 and some Windows 10 terminology in 2017. Windows Defender and some of the services that run under the Windows Defender name will also be renamed to Microsoft Defender in 2020 if Microsoft does not revert the change.

A click on the support article link of the definition update opens a page on the Microsoft website. The page uses the new term, Security intelligence updates, already. Microsoft uses the terminology elsewhere already, a strong indicator that the name change is permanent.

A click on the release notes link on that page lists all changes to the definitions file made by the most recent update. Security intelligence update is used on the page as well.

Windows Defender Antivirus definition updates are downloaded via Windows Update on Home systems running Windows. These definition updates update the database that Windows Defender uses to determine whether files are malicious or problematic in nature, or clean.

Windows 10 users may open the Settings application -- from the Start Menu or by using the keyboard shortcut Windows-I -- and select Update & Security > View Update History to get a list of all installed updates.  Definition updates are listed in a group for easier recognition.

Closing Words

The name change may be confusing when it is encountered for the first time; it is a legitimate change, however, and nothing to worry about.

Now You: Do you use Windows Defender or another antivirus solution?

About Security Intelligence Updates for Microsoft Defender
Article Name
About Security Intelligence Updates for Microsoft Defender
If you administrate systems protected by Windows Defender, the default antivirus solution that is included in Windows, you may have noticed that Windows Update downloaded a definitions update called Security Intelligence Update for Windows Defender Antivirus.
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  1. Raymond Stevens said on January 14, 2021 at 4:03 am

    Typical microsoft bat squeeze.

  2. Dan Ellwein said on August 16, 2019 at 6:32 am

    I would imagine the name change is for legal purposes … but I don’t have any evidence for that … just the first thing that came to my mind when wondering why the change …

  3. Leslie said on August 3, 2019 at 1:30 pm

    With all the censorship going on right now with Google, Twitter, Facebook, YouTube etc. this new update given the name “Security Intelligence” sounds to me like it will not only be blocking viruses but also websites “they” don’t want us to see. By claiming that this update changes how and what the files detect implies that they have added trigger algorithms to censor content. I will not be adding this update to my system because of this and because they specifically state that it “cannot” be removed once installed.

  4. Dilly Dilly said on August 1, 2019 at 5:04 pm

    m$ av is mediocre at best. If you rely on it for enterprise keep your resume up to date.

  5. JohnIL said on August 1, 2019 at 4:44 pm

    I use Defender and before that Security Essentials, I always felt it was plenty effective and never had issues. Over the past 4 years of using Win 10 I think Defender has become a really good solution for users who don’t want the bother of a subscription third party solutions. Even in security tests Defender ranks up there pretty good against the best.

    1. Richard Paul said on August 25, 2019 at 6:38 pm

      Especially if your a Windows 10 Insider. Not good to mess around with third party AV’s on these beta builds.

    2. Alan said on August 2, 2019 at 8:17 pm

      Agreed. I’ve never had any trouble with Defender. From what I’ve read, Windows Defender is one of the better solutions out there.

  6. Jozsef said on August 1, 2019 at 3:45 pm

    Since the standard name for these things is virus definitions as far as I know, that makes the name change deliberately confusing and therefore business as usual coming from Microsoft. This is not to say that they have a monopoly on being ambiguous or just plain stupid but the renaming obsession is not good since it’s apparently a long standing goal in itself and so often at the cost of clarity.

  7. PanamaVet said on August 1, 2019 at 2:34 pm

    Windows Defender is detecting all threats in recent tests putting it in the top tier of security software.

    If you turn the new sandbox feature on it is protecting the machine from any vulnerabilities in Defender among other things. None of their peers can do this.

    I’m guessing the update name change indicates a shift to defining behaviors to detect.

    Microsoft has been doing that for some time in their enterprise security software.

    Defender runs inside the operating system. It is a superior approach to protecting a machine.

    Last year we learned that vulnerabilities are not uncommon in security products. That fact has gone unmeasured in the test scores. Installing A/V software can get you pwned. Welcome to the new world.

  8. chesscanoe said on August 1, 2019 at 1:39 pm

    If you are running Windows Security and all you want to do is “Check for protection updates”, it is easier for me just to right click the Windows Security icon in the taskbar notification area to immediately use that function. Right now I am running “Security intelligence version 1.299.999.0”. The capitalisation Microsort uses implies to me it is not a name change but simply a vocabulary change.

  9. stefann said on August 1, 2019 at 9:44 am

    Windows Defender is still a joke when it comes to security…..

  10. LTL said on August 1, 2019 at 1:15 am

    Don’t know what AI has to do with this subject, but Windows bashing seems to be hot – for some. I use Windows, Linux, Chrome OS and OSX and not one of them -or their company- is flawless. Enough said.

    On one system I run Windows 10 for half a year or so, to get used before having to switch from Windows 7 end of this year. I decided not to install any third party av on it and stick with Defender. Thats seems to do its job quite well, and without clogging up or slowing down the os like many av’s do.
    Furthermore Defender comes out on top 3 repeatedly in the past months av tests. And native av and security updates make a strong duo I think.

    1. Anonymous said on August 1, 2019 at 7:53 am

      yes not one of them is flawless but ask this which one give you more problem?
      “windows bashing seems to be hot”…yes it start become hot on windows 8 *hint*obnoxious start menu, etc*hint* & it become scorching on windows 10 forced upgrade & update (start menu still ugly af)

      i dont recommend using defender…defender actually more heavy than 3rd party – (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4UhUZCZMJHg) & since microsoft done a lot of **** before, i dont trust them anymore…i recommend watching The PC Security Channel [TPSC] youtube channel & tomsguide/pcmag/pcworld review(i think ghacks also have some too) if you want to take a look at 3rd party av.

  11. ULBoom said on August 1, 2019 at 12:42 am

    Next it will be

    Security Intelligence Update for Windows Defender Antivirus Experience.

    Could they have come up with a more obscure name than Security Intelligence Update?

    Micro Softies need to get some fresh air; I’m sure the team that conjured up that string spent a week or so repeating it to themselves until its meaning finally became intuitive.

    Their millions of users don’t matter, I guess.

    Uh, no, I don’t use Windows Defender, too hard to understand (that was easy!)

  12. clake said on August 1, 2019 at 12:15 am

    Windows Defender is no worse than any other solution. I guess their Marketing Dept. is catching on to the state of the art.

  13. wad said on July 31, 2019 at 9:20 pm

    it doesn’t update for all win 10 systems? you know, just in cases someone wants to do a manual scan even though active protection (whatever they call it) is off and periodic scan is off

  14. ilev said on July 31, 2019 at 6:21 pm

    Microsoft will soon replace Nadella with AIntelligence updating robot.
    So far Microsoft’s AI is a total flop (just like everything they do).

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