Microsoft is just a month and a half away from releasing it’s most ambitious OS version in the market. Yes I am talking about Windows 8 which has been receiving mixed reviews lately by bloggers and the press likewise. Microsoft hopes that Windows 8 will usher the era of tablet computing with it’s bold Metro styled design, apps and off course security.
Security has been a challenge to balance and counter on the Windows ecosystem as millions of Viruses, malware and other threats keep on coming and attacking users on a daily basis. Microsoft had reduced the chances of being attacked via introducing some robust security mechanisms in Windows 7 which it is taking forward and improving upon in Windows 8. Lets look at some of the bold new measures taken by Steven Sinofsky’s team.
1) Microsoft Security Essentials Comes Installed By Default : Attacks Other Security Vendors
Never has it been that Microsoft has installed a version of its own security software within Windows by default. Maybe this time Microsoft is taking no chances on the users who either don’t go for 3rd party paid or free security software or don’t care about security that much. Microsoft knows that if works on the model of security first, the Windows ecosystem which has been punished for it’s security loopholes would be much appreciated for caring about users right from the word go. Microsoft security Essentials is a pretty neat software itself which helps you in enjoy protection from viruses, spyware, Trojan horses, rootkits, and other malware from the very first day you turn on your Windows PC–without installing any additional software or even spending a cent. Yes you heard us right the software comes in for FREE.
This does, however attack on Microsoft’s partner ecosystem and other security vendor relations as their entire portfolio is being taken care of by Microsoft itself hence from a revenue stand they must be worried on how to tackle Microsoft.
Editor’s note: Windows Security Essentials has been merged into Windows Defender in Windows 8. So you will not be able to install Windows Security Essentials in Windows 8 as Windows Defender is already doing the job of protecting you from malware.
2) Screening Downloads For Security Vulnerabilities
SmartScreen technology was introduced by Microsoft in Internet Explorer 9 which helps the users to be aware of phishing sites, malware and Trojans infected download files on the fly using Microsoft’s ThreatSense Database engine. Now with Windows 8, SmartScreen is built right into the Operating System and is triggered by any program be it Chrome, Office, Adobe Acrobat etc. The way it works is simple, any program asking for a download of any kind passes the checks by SmartScreen and if it detects any suspicious activity, the user is warned and is asked to take the appropriate decision. Pretty smart I must say as Microsoft is protecting the whole ecosystem and not just it’s own apps.
In Windows 8, the first time you run a program that you downloaded from the Internet, the SmartScreen Filter checks it against a list of known safe applications, and alerts you if it is unknown and therefore has the potential to be malware. If the alert does pop up, you could then further investigate the program (and the source where you downloaded it) before running it.
SmartScreen produces an alert if you run an unknown program.
3) Goodbye BIOS Boot, Welcome UEFI (Unified Extensible Firmware Interface)
If you have been using a PC or a laptop even, one thing is for sure, you must have heard the term BIOS. Yes it’s is background ecosystem that helps your system detect an Operating System and boot up, but now Windows 8 Microsoft is introducing a radical and a much faster bootstrap technology called UEFI (Unified Extensible Firmware Interface). Not only does this new technology make your PC go in salute mode in less than 10 seconds but predicts any kind of USB, disc or network attack being made in forms of advanced malware (such as bootkits and rootkits) to protect you. Pretty darn nice.
4) Password What Password?, Introducing Picture Gesture and PIN Protection Technology
Since Windows 95 the most common interface a user of Windows Operating System has seen has been the first screen that ask for a password to enter . Microsoft is removing the clunky methodology and has introduced two password types that you can use when logging in to your Windows account.
1) Picture passwords
2) PIN passwords
Picture password are pretty cool in their usage as you have to choose a photo or an image and draw three gestures (a combination of circles, straight lines, or taps/clicks) in different places to create your “password.”
PIN password work similar to that of ATM’s. You just enter a numeric PIN you remember easily and voila you are in, that is fast, easy to remember and secure.
Leave us your thoughts on how you find Windows 8 more secure.