New Windows 8 security features

Windows 8 (on the non-tablet side primarily) introduces some new as well as updated security features (and a few borderline features).

Here are the common features to all:

Picture Password

Picture Password is a new touch-based (sorry, not the old classic way) security login where the user selects a picture and then makes three touch gestures on top of it. The system will save the sequence of gestures as the user’s “password” and then the user would use that sequence to log in.

Integrated anti-malware/Windows Defender

Windows 8 includes a full anti-malware solution, as Windows Defender will now incorporate the antivirus features from the Microsoft Security Essentials solution. In addition, Windows Defender will also have improved performance and will use less memory and CPU.

Windows Reader

An interesting new security feature could be hidden in the Windows Reader, the new integrated document reader for Windows 8. It supports a variety of formats including the PDF format. This could actually reduce security issues as you won’t have to rely on plugins and external applications.

SmartScreen filter

The SmartScreen technology debuted in Internet Explorer 9, and it is now being extended to Windows 8 itself. In tests from NSS Labs, it has been shown to be the best among modern browsers for detecting and blocking socially-engineered malware.

UEFI Secure Boot support

Secure Boot is a very important new security characteristic included in Windows 8. UEFI (Unified Extensible Firmware Interface) is intended to replace the traditional BIOS as the next-generation firmware interface for PCs. When Secure Boot is enabled, it can make Windows 8 very resistant to low-level malware such as rootkits.

In addition, the Professional edition will have the following:

Bitlocker and Bitlocker To Go

Bitlocker is the full-disk encryption solution Microsoft introduced in Windows Vista and then extended to removable drives with Bitlocker To Go in Windows 7. The only major new feature includes the option of backing up the encryption key of Bitlocker To Go to a SkyDrive Account.

Finally, we have enterprise only features:

Windows To Go

Windows To Go, a fully managed Windows 8 corporate image that administrators can provision on an external USB drive (32GB or greater) and can be booted from any 64-bit PC at any location, regardless of connectivity. As a fully corporate PC image, it can include management features such as Windows Update policies, corporate anti-malware solutions and Bitlocker. USB 3.0 is highly recommended.

Applocker

Applocker is Microsoft’s solution for application control. This was introduced in Windows 7 and uses either blacklists or whitelists of applications. With Applocker, an administrator can create policies that restrict or allow specific applications from being installed or run by users.

DirectAccess

Microsoft introduced DirectAccess as an alternative to VPNs for securely connecting PCs to corporate networks bjut has changed little in Windows 8. DirectAccess connections don’t require launching an additional application to connect and should help organizations maintain compliance on remote or mobile computers by applying policies and patches seamlessly.

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About ebraiter
computer guy

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