Windows 8 new security features

The Internet is all abuzz with the news of the upcoming Windows 8, whose early version has been demonstrated on Tuesday at Microsoft’s BUILD conference.

Setting aside usability, efficiency, speed and all the other things that are most important to regular users, what news does this preview bring to those of us most concerned about security?

Well, for a start, Windows 8 has a built-in antivirus that, according to The Register‘s sources, actually works. “It stopped not only the EICAR test file, but more than a dozen malware items in Metasploit,” confirmed a security instructor that has been testing the beta version of the new OS version.

Another crucial change is Microsoft’s abandonment of BIOS ROM in favor of Unified Extensible Firmware Interface (UEFI), which allows for a quicker boot up of the machine, but also things like automatic scanning of a USB drive used to boot the OS.

This particular feature, which lets users boot up a portable Windows environment from an USB drive, was demonstrated at BUILD, and the purposefully infected USB triggered a warning about an “invalid signature” and stopped the booting process.

Windows Defender, Microsoft’s antispyware software will also be upgraded “all the way up though antimalware, antivirus,” according to Steven Sinofsky, president of Microsoft’s Windows and Windows Live division, and users will be able to chose if they want to employ it or some other AV solution. It is unclear if that was the built-in antivirus that The Register’s source was talking about.

A curious new feature that will be available for users of touchscreen-equipped PCs is the ability to create passwords for accessing the machine by choosing a combination of pictures and gestures (taps, circles, straight lines, etc.), which will surely be a welcome addition to those users whose memory is more easily triggered by visuals and motions – on the premise that it works as its supposed to.

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