Monday, December 24, 2012

Windows 8: Security a Step Ahead

Last few weeks of so had been really exciting. Windows 8, the newest operating system from Microsoft debuted along with its mobile cousin, the Windows Phone 8. It was really a pleasure to bring to you its latest features. But amidst the hoopla surrounding the event, we forgot to cover up one really critical aspect of Windows 8, its security quotient.

No, we don’t mean to take anything away from the efforts of the engineers of Microsoft, but it’s a known fact that hackers and virus makers have always had real affinity to the Windows operating system. The software whale never kept blinds eye to this fact though. In fact each coming version of Windows had featured improved security and the efforts though slowly, were showing results. For instance, Windows 7 is indeed really secure; no wonder it’s still selling like hot cake in the market. And now it’s time for Windows 8, the most secure Windows-based OS till date.  So how far the Redmond-based company has gone in its attempt to ensure protection of data in Windows 8? As always, here are some of my findings.

First up is the enhanced avatar of Windows Defender. If your remember Windows 7 has a malware buster in the form of free-to-use Microsoft Security Essentials and a spyware in the form of Windows Defender. This very Defender is now a full-fledged security application in Windows 8.  It comes bundled at no extra cost. So the moment you upgrade to Windows 8, your PC is protected. So does that mean permanent vacation for antivirus vendors? Well, according to Microsoft it surely is the case. However other software vendors are obviously not a party to it.

Regardless of the antimalware application you use, Windows 8 loads it first up in the boot process through Early Launch Anti-Malware (ELAM).

Next is Secure Boot, which is meant to protect PCs from low-level exploits, rootkits, and bootloaders. It is a security process shared between Windows 8 and Unified Extensible Firmware Interface (UEFI). Secure Boot does a simple thing; it requires all applications booting in the machine to have a valid digital certificate every time they load. 

Efficacy of such security features will be gauged in some time but the concept of having ELAM and Secure Boot work in tandem to impart fool-proof security is, as per security pundits, fundamentally sound.

Other notable security features in Windows 8 include a Smart Screen. Any file you intend to download via the Internet will first be screened through this Smart Screen before it gets a piece of your machine’s hard drive. With the inclusion of Picture passwords, even the passwords have also become trendy in Windows 8. Have a favorite pic of you and your family as the password, pin up three gestures and viola, you are all set. Finally, the AppContainer ensures that an app stays confined to a particular place and do not mingle with other apps. The AppContainer also filters apps and check if any dangerous infections exist in them before they get installed in your PC.

As you can comprehend by now, the software developers at Microsoft have truly done their bit to have the arsenal at place, so to speak. Only time will tell as to how effective will this arsenal be. We will surely keep an eye and will keep you posted.

Image by: Comedy_Nose 


  1. I didn't find the option to shut my pc down. i always plug my pc out when I want to shut down. Would you please tell me how to shut the PC down for OS W8?

    security company

    1. Hi Sarah,
      As a word of advice, please never plug your PC off to shut it down. It will cripple it down much earlier than you would expect. Here’s an easier way that you can follow to shut down your Windows 8 PC.
      I am setting up a nice post in the blog that would provide you all the methods to shut down your Windows 8 PC. For the time being you can try out the inline procedure:
      · Move the cursor to the lower-right corner or the upper-right corner of the screen to bring up what is called a Charms Bar.

      · Select Settings from the Charms Bar.

      · Right click on the Power Options tab.

      · Select Shut Down

      Do let us whether it worked or not.

  2. I appreciate all your advices. They are really good. Thanks a lot for your article. Pip in here pr See you!