Windows 8 Security Features

by Jeremy Miller, Technician

Windows has been known as a trustworthy computing platform, a lot of which is due to the ability to secure your operating system without infringing upon availability.

Microsoft has once again improved security across all versions of Windows 8. Just as in earlier releases, this version of Windows improves user and network security.

Windows 8 security features

All versions of Windows will have many new security features such as:

UEFI Secure Boot support which is a large hardware step toward mitigating malware, specifically rootkits and bootkits. Rootkits and bootkits are low-level malware that run as your operating system starts up.

Organizations that deploy Windows 8 will want this feature enabled and prevent users from disabling this feature.

Smart Screen Filter which has already made its debut in Internet Explorer. Microsoft has decided to implement it into the operating system itself.

Smart Screen Filtering has been proven to be the best at blocking socially-engineered malware, which are phishing and pharming attacks such as bad links or redirects to bad or look-a-like sites.

This can aide in the prevention of drive-by downloads as well, which is where you unknowingly download malware by visiting websites.

Integrated anti-malware and Windows Defender is included in all Windows 8 versions. Windows defender will incorporate anti-virus from Microsoft Security Essentials with improved performance and a smaller footprint.

This can all be implemented alongside your current anti-virus provider’s anti-virus and should be implemented as soon as you obtain your computer, this way you are starting from a known-good environment.

Picture Passwords have been added to all versions of Windows 8 as well. Picture Password is a touch-based secure login. You select a picture and then create a gesture-sequence on top of the picture. These can simplify the login process while making it more difficult to hack.

Windows Reader is something completely new to Windows 8. Windows will now be able to read PDF documents without having to install 3rd party software. This can mitigate the popular PDF vulnerabilities. The more software you have installed the more vulnerable you become.

Address Space Layout Randomization was introduced in Windows Vista and has been improved upon since. This can aide in the prevention of the “buffer overflow” attacks that are gaining popularity. They have added integrity checks, and an Enhanced protected mode “Sandbox”

Windows 8 Professional has additional security features to the one listed below such as: Bitlocker and Bitlocker Togo, which are not new but have been improved upon. The same goes for Group Policy Objects.

Windows 8 Enterprise has additional security features such as: Applocker which was introduced in Windows 7 and gives the user the ability to white-list or blacklist applications.

Direct access is an alternative to VPN’s, and finally “Windows to Go”, which allows people to image your computers with a Windows 8 corporate image.

It can be put on a USB and loaded onto any 64-bit PC and can include all of the management features.

If you need assistance or help with any of the new features of Windows 8 please contact us for assistance.

We can even setup your new computers for first-time use and transfer any data from your old computer to your new Windows 8 computer.