Published on April 28th, 2013 | by Jane Davies0
Reviews: How Secure is Windows 8?
When it comes to Windows 8 security, some will firstly think of the many new features in this system, say the password features in Windows 8. In fact, we can easily find that Microsoft has made many efforts to improve the security performance of this new system, though some of them turn out to be just the opposite of their wishes.
Sarah Shields, executive director of consumer and small Business at Microsoft OEM partner Dell UK & Ireland, said Windows 8¡¯s new features should make the product more secure than previous versions of the OS. Microsoft is offering three main versions of the new operating system: Windows 8, the “home” edition, Windows 8 Pro with features for enterprises, and Windows RT for ARM-powered devices. I¡¯d like firstly talk about some praiseworthy security improvements in Windows 8.
Windows 8 adds two features to the boot process that can greatly enhance security by protecting against rootkit infections: Secured Boot, with Early Launch Antimalware (ELAM); and Measured Boot. These two features will minimize the possibility for rootkits to successfully launch. Meanwhile, it can identify the presence of unreliable software that has bypassed antimalware controls by using remote trusted systems. Also, Microsoft added SmartScreen to Windows 8. The SmartScreen filter will check to see if other people have downloaded the same file when a user downloads a program or a file from the Internet. This can be good for detecting fake antivirus and other malware. The built-in antivirus, Windows Defender, enable Windows 8 users to get security protection as soon as they turn on the machine. In Windows 8, Microsoft expanded its support for embedded hardware security. We can¡¯t deny the efforts Microsoft have made to improve security in this new system.
However, the unsatisfying sales of Windows 8 show us the worries from PC users on the new system, on the other hand. There are some controversial new features in Windows 8. Some of them have even been reported as security flaws. Let’s take two examples.
Windows 8 allows its users to login with two new authentication methods besides regular text password ¡ªpicture password and PIN code. They can surely make password reset Windows 8 much easier. But, last year, some drawbacks of the new authentication methods were reported by Passcape Software as invulnerable. Whoever tries to guess it must know how and what parts of the picture to choose, and then draw the same gestures in order. However, it is reported that such a unique password is actually based on a regular account. Attackers who gain physical control of a computer as well as administrator access can easily extract the key that recovers the plaintext password of each account that uses the log-on alternatives.
Another security flaw can be found within Microsoft’s Key Management System and can be exploited when the Windows Media Center upgrade is applied on top of Windows 8. That¡¯s to say, for a free legitimate version of Windows 8, the Windows Media Center upgrade is all the pirates need. Actually, the Windows Media Center is available for free for a limited time directly from Microsoft.
It¡¯s too early to say whether Windows 8 is safe or not. The thing that matter is that we should have good habits to make it safer. Keep your system away from malware traps. Whenever you download or upgrade applications, make sure it¡¯s reliable enough. For example, malware to reset Windows Server 2008 password is found recently, keep cautious when choosing a Windows 8 password reset tool after forgetting Windows 8 password. Besides, it is necessary to check virus regularly with the help of reliable anti-virus programs.