Windows 8 is scheduled to be released later this year and the first thing that people will notice is the brand new Start screen and the Metro-style apps. However, Microsoft has also made some serious improvements under the hood, especially the security features of the operating system, in order to make the system safer. It is probably the most significant security improvement that the Windows OS has seen yet.
In a unique first, Windows will now be protected from viruses, Trojans, spyware and other threats from day one- even without a third-party antivirus. Windows 8 features an updated Windows Defender that performs the usual antivirus functions and also provides protection from spyware, as seen in Windows Vista. The new Windows Defender is similar to the free Microsoft Security Essentials antivirus program that Microsoft has been offering as an optional download for the past 3 years.
Users are saved of making additional purchases of third-party security solutions like McAfee or Norton as Windows Defender will now give them basic protection against viruses and malware. Although, purchasing an advanced security software is recommended, it becomes more optional now compared to previous operating systems which absolutely required additional protection.
Faster And Secure Startup
Windows 8 introduces a new boot method called UEFI (Unified Extensible Firmware Interface), which is a significant improvement on the old BIOS boot system that is used by most PCs since times immemorial. UEFI offers improved security and faster startup times. This new boot method will enable your PC to boot in just about 8 seconds!
The Secure Boot feature of UEFI will protect the PC from advanced malware (like bootkits and rootkits) that may cause damage, and will also prevent other boot loader attacks.
Improved Download Screening
When Internet Explorer 9 came out, it featured a SmartScreen Filter to detect and block unknown and potentially malicious programs that are downloaded, complementing the website filtering function, which blocks malicious and phishing sites. In Windows 8, the program-monitoring function of IE’s SmartScreen Filter is incorporated in Windows itself, enabling the function to be deployed on IE, Firefox, Chrome, or any other browser.
When you run a program downloaded from the Web in Windows 8, the built-in SmartScreen Filter checks the applications against a list of known safe programs and alerts you in case it is an unknown software and may be malware.
The SmartScreen feature will replace the earlier Security Warning alerts that used to appear when you opened a downloaded program for the first time. The user experience will be much more improved because it reduces the number of alerts that come up every time you install new software. Windows 8 will only notify you when it detects a problem.
Two New Password Types
Windows 8 will come with two new password types, to be used while logging in to your Windows account- a 4-digit PIN code and a “picture password.”
The PIN code is pretty simple. In the “picture password”, you have to choose an image and draw 3 gestures (a combination of straight lines, circles and clicks or taps) in different places to create your “password.”
However, you still have to set up a normal Windows password.