Upon installing Windows 8 for the first time, the first thing to grab your attention is likely to be the new Metro-style touch-based interface.
This, however, is not the only thing that has changed in Microsoft’s latest OS, and they have included a variety of new security features that have many improvements in comparison to Windows 7.
Windows 8 is also said to be highly supportive of social networks and is adaptive towards the emerging market for Tablet PC’s. With this we are seeing some network based security overhauls likely to keep users protected from viruses and malware.
This is the biggest security update for a Windows release yet.
Download Screening with SmartScreen
The new SmatScreen Filter in Windows 8 complements Internet Explorer’s website filtering feature, however it does not require Internet Explorer to function and works with files downloaded in any browser or application.
SmartScreen helps to identify and block malicious programs that may originate from unsecure online locations. It does this by comparing your downloaded files to a list of applications that are safe.
Additionally, the feature will also notify users if the reputation of the application they’re trying to access hasn’t been established yet. Along with this change, Microsoft has also removed its “Security Warning” alerts, which means you’ll be receiving much less annoying notifications.
Microsoft has finally gone ahead and included full Anti-Virus support in Windows 8. Windows defender comes pre-installed, and will provide protection against spyware, viruses, Trojan horses, rootkits and other malware threats.
Windows Defender has a similar look and feel to Microsoft Security Essentials, which has been freely available to users since 2009.
Windows Defender now also includes a smaller CPU and RAM footprint, which is likely to improve your Windows performance and experience, while allowing you to enjoy protection at the same time.
An expanded set of malware signatures have been provided from Microsoft’s Malware Protection center, promising coverage for a wide array of security threats including all types of malware.
New Password Features
Two new password functionalities have been included with Windows 8, promising to increase user experience in relation to password protection. A “picture password” and PIN feature has been added. You can use these new password types when logging in to Windows.
The picture password allows you to choose a photo/image of your choice and then draw 3 gestures in the form of circles, straight lines, taps or clicks. This is done in different places on the image in order to create your new password.
The new PIN password type is compulsory, and is the fastest method of logging in. The PIN password is also required when accessing Administrator accounts. Additionally, you may also choose to make use of the regular password feature, which is the same as previous OS’s.
New UEFI Booting Method
The UEFI (Unified Extensible Firmware Interface) boot method is an improvement upon the old archaic BIOS boot system used with previous versions of Windows. The new system offers added security, much quicker boot times and a number of other benefits.
With this new feature, you can expect your PC to boot in as little as 8 seconds.
Microsoft now requires new computers to include the Microsoft Windows 8 Certification in order to make use of the EUFI system.
This is causing some concern in the IT industry, however Microsoft is promising to keep their dual-booting functionality available, and allow Windows to be used with other OS’s such as Linux.
About The Author: Gavin Hopkins has a masters degree in Computer Engineering, and is currently working as a Wireless Network Engineer for T-Mobile. His interests have mainly been in relation to mobile computing, pay as you go wireless providers, 3G/4G communication and prepaid dongles.