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Windows 8 will be released anytime soon this year. The first impression of Windows 8 is the introduction of Metro Apps and the new appearance. But there are more changes to Windows 8 than its look. Windows 8 security features also have gone through a tremendous change with the new release. In this topic, we will discuss the added windows 8 security features.
Security software is pre-installed
Microsoft incorporated security software in their from Vista onwards. Windows defender came preinstalled in Windows Vista as a security feature. However, it was not a complete security package as the protection was only against spyware. It was marketed as an antispyware program. Vista and Windows users still had to install a security software for protecting against other types of computer infections.
Windows Defender has gone through major change in Windows 8. Apart from spyware protection, the protection is now extended against Viruses, Trojan horses, Rootkits, and other Malware. The updated Windows Defender now looks like Microsoft security essentials. Since the protection is extended against all major infection, it is now optional for you to buy a security software and pay for the subscriptions. There is also the option for disabling Windows Defender if you prefer to use a third-party security software.
Better screening for download from any browser
When Internet Explorer 9 was released, one of the major features is the modified Smart Screen filtering. This helps in detecting and blocking suspicious and malicious programs that you download using IE. In Windows 8, smart screen filtering is now incorporated into itself. This means, it doesn’t matter which browser you use, the smart screen filter will immediately inform as soon as they find a suspicious download.
When a file is downloaded, Smart screen filter will check it against a list of known safe applications and alerts you if the program is in the suspicious list. With the new feature, Microsoft has also changed the way how the warns the user. Instead of continuously warning the user about a suspicious download, it pops up warning message only when the OS detects something wrong in the download.
Faster and Secure startup
Windows 8 now supports a new boot method UEFI(Unified Extensible Firmware Interface) which replaces the traditional BIOS. With this and related technology, you can boot to desktop in as little as 8 secs from the time you turned on the PC. The secure boot feature in UEFI prevents any rootkit or malware from interfering with OS files in the bootup process. The protection is extended after the booting process as well by preventing the unauthorized changes made in the OS.
Regarding the UEFI, you may have to buy a new computer in order to implement it. Microsoft needs to get a license for PCs that carry Windows 8 certification for UEFI with secure boot feature enabled. There are other issues related to UEFI, especially in cases where the user prefers to have multiple OS on the same computer. For that, Microsoft might try to get a license for using UEFI without secure boot feature enabled.
New type of passwords
Windows 8 introduces support for picture passwords and also a PIN (four digits) password. In picture password, you need to choose an image and then draw three gestures on the image( a combination of circles, straight line or taps/clicks on a point). Once the computer accepts that, you need to replicate the same every time you need to login to the computer.
You also need to create a regular password or a PIN as a backup. At times when you make administrative changes and the asks for an authorization, then you need a regular password or PIN for continuing.
Add your comments if you have anything to add or something to check about Windows 8 security features.