Windows 8 is scheduled to hit the market in October and promises a new era for desktops. Microsoft aims to integrate the PC market with the mobile market by unifying the Metro UI across all platforms. However, Windows has always brought a number of security threats due to its massive popularity. Windows 8 shall be no different and this post gives a sneak preview into the various security layers that a Windows 8 user can rely on.
Secure Boot support
Microsoft has showcased the UEFI (Unified Extensible Firmware Interface) based Secure Boot to replace the traditional BIOS firmware interface. This technology ensures a faster boot-up and protects against low-level rootkits. Such rootkits attack processes before anti-malware programs start so this is a welcome addition. Moreover, validation of the digital signature of boot components prevents against tampering. If the OS detects a rootkit while booting up, it pauses the process and informs the user.
SmartScreen browser filter
Previously seen only in Internet Explorer, this feature detects and prevents malicious downloads. Now it is embedded within the OS itself and is not restricted solely to the browser. So one may use any browser on Windows 8 and download files safely. The layer utilizes a reputation system and scans URLs and files to check for potential threats.
Picture and gesture-based password
This feature challenges regular text-based user logins. The user will be required to choose an image of choice and specify three unique gestures on it to log in. The usefulness and effectiveness of this method remains to be seen, but it is definitely an innovative feature.
This document reader program primarily reads PDF files. Such files are commonly used as attack vectors so this enhances the base security of the OS. The application will get regular Windows updates so the user need not rely on untrustworthy updates and plug-ins.
Address Space Layout Randomization (ASLR)
Previously seen on Windows Vista, ASLR randomly changes the location of data and code stored in the memory. In Windows 8 the randomization factor is greater. Internet Explorer 10 will also include an ‘Enhanced Protected Mode’ sandbox along with a ‘ForceASLR’ option that randomizes the memory modules of the browser.
In spite of these revamped security features, we understand that users will still need the best system protection software for their machines. Quick Heal provides several additional features that protect users against the latest malware and phishing threats, provide anti-theft measures, ensure parental controls and more.
Moreover, Quick Heal and Microsoft are technology partners so we will share a high degree of interoperability with Windows 8. With all these security features combined, users can rest assured that their security will be in the best hands.