Every new version of Windows would focus on improved security, which is considered necessary to withstand the constant barrage of attacks aimed at the popular platform. So is Windows 8. Now let’s have a look what security changes Microsoft has made in Windows 8.
Windows 8 will no doubt take good advantage of hardware-based authentication capabilities of the Trusted Platform Module (TPM), as Steven Sprague, the CEO of Wave Systems, noted. TPM stores sensitive configuration data and credentials, making it possible to implement single sign-on and access to VPN. Device-based security could be used to log in users to the network, Sprague said. No passwords required.
Windows 8 machines can optionally ship with self-encrypting drives, which provides businesses and security-minded end-users with hardware-based encryption that can never be turned off. SEDs are ready-to-go out of the box, protecting data right from the start. Hardware-based encryption has less impact on performance as well. These are just some of the obvious security changes Microsoft has made in Windows 8. More security changes, which are designed to protect mass users from been attacked, are waiting to be explored.
Windows 8 is released with built-in antivirus, a much more robust application than Microsoft Security Essentials, the free anti-malware software that users could download and install by themselves in earlier versions of the OS. Windows Defender (Microsoft repurposed the name for the anti-malware product) is enabled by default, which means users have some form of security protection as soon as they turn on their machine. The front of Windows Defender running on Windows 8 looks very similar to Microsoft Security Essentials on Windows 7.If user wants to install a different security product, they can feel free to uninstall Windows Defender. In fact, Windows Defender must be disabled if you want to install a third-party security suite.
AppContainer is an invisible security change in Windows 8, a more secure application sandbox environment where Windows 8 apps will reside. Designed to prevent apps from disrupting the operating system, AppContainer decides which actions are available to which apps. Similarly Internet Explorer plug-ins run in their own sandboxes under Windows 8. Apps will also be available through the new Windows 8 app store, which means Microsoft will be able to check beforehand for malicious applications.
Speaking of the amazing changes, it is obvious that we cannot leave out Picture Password. This allows users to select a photo from your image library and then define three gestures on the photo using combination of circles, straight lines, and taps. This kind of encryption is quite different from the original text password, and it is best used on tablets or computer with touch screen.
Microsoft designed Secure Boot to protect the computer from low-level exploits such as rootkits and bootloaders. Secure Boot is a security process shared between the operating system and Unified Extensible Firmware Interface (UEFI, replacing the BIOS), requires all the applications running during the booting process to be pre-signed with valid digital certificates. This way, the system knows all the files being loaded before Windows 8 fires up have not been tampered with.
When a bootloader has infected your computer and it tries to load during the boot-up sequence, Secure Boot will undo all the changes and thwart the attack, making it much harder for attackers to try to compromise your PC’s start-up sequence.