New security features coming in Windows 10
Windows machines have always been a favourites for hackers, trojan/virus/malware authors. Most hacks, worms, trojans and viruses target Windows machines in particular. Mainly because of the vast reach that no other platform can match. SO every new Windows release, is an occasion of celebration and concern. The upcoming Windows 10 has a lot of improvements for end users and thankfully, a few security improvements up its sleeve as well.
Though there is always a concern that a new OS will open new areas for hackers to exploit. With Windows 10, it’s clear Microsoft wants to bolster security without opening up any new holes. For the most part, after testing the preview build, it’s clear most of the changes are related to usability and solving that Start menu issue for end-users. The tech giant is not trying to reinvent the wheel again with a dramatically new UI, which is good news for security pros.
Brenden Vaughan, a threat research manager at Webroot, says it’s a big step in reducing security threats. “With the release of Windows 10, Microsoft is introducing a number of security improvements that should make the world of computing a significantly safer place. All things considered, the security improvements Microsoft is making for Windows 10 sound very promising. Much of it still relies on IT admins and end-users to use the tools at their disposal correctly, but Windows 10 should provide hackers fewer weaknesses to exploit.”
Multi- Factor Authentication
One major step at the end users side will be the multi factor authentication. IT analyst Charles King says the most important change is that the user will have a few flexible and workable options. For example, if you use a Microsoft Windows phone, you can enable a feature that requires the device to be connected over Bluetooth or Wi-Fi in order to gain access. (This feature has already been available on HP laptops for some time, but now it’s baked into the Windows 10 OS).
Another implementation of this will be pairing up a password with a biometric system like a fingerprint scanner. If you think a fingerprint scanner is enough, you haven’t heard of the iPhone’s TouchID being hacked within minutes of its release. Pairing up the two will also provide a good security backup measure.
Segregation of Data
It is actually surprising no one thought about implementing this feature on a wide scale before. With the increasing adoption of bring-your-own-device mentality, segregation of data in the OS itself will provide a lot of relief to IT administrators. King says this will be a feature in Windows 10 and will occur “on the fly” without the end-user even knowing (or understanding) what is happening. “All apps, data, email, website content, etc. defined as ‘corporate’ will be automatically encrypted without user intervention. Windows Phone will support the same technology so that protected documents can be accessed via the phone,” says King.
Locking down the machine
Ask any IT pro about a typical cause for headaches when it comes to end-user computers and you’ll likely get an earful about unauthorised end-user apps. Employees sometimes browse to unknown sites and see a prompt to install an application that looks helpful, or purposefully try to install their own app that’s not approved for enterprise use. Then the problems start.
Fortunately, Microsoft has thought about this as well. IT admins of an organization can define a set of trusted applications and only let these applications be installed on the machines, making the entire problem vanish. “Microsoft also hopes to make it easier for users to stay free of malware with Windows 10 by providing the ability to lock down devices, allowing only trusted applications to be installed and executed,” King says. “These trusted applications must be signed by a Microsoft authorised signing service and organisations will have total flexibility to decide which applications they deem trustworthy.” “Extending the capabilities to ‘lock down’ the software set used on PCs and mobile devices by prohibiting installations of software that aren’t specifically authorised is something that would really have helped prevent the many recent retail POS breaches on those dedicated machines,” Tumulak says, referring to recent data breaches at companies like Target.
Microsoft is giving power to the users with the new Windows 10 OS, now its upto them to make the best use of it.