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Windows 8 raises the bar for PC security

Tony Bradley | Oct. 29, 2012
Windows 8 is officially here. Microsoft held an event in New York yesterday to launch the new OS, and spent a lot of time talking about cool features and introducing a plethora of hardware options available with Windows 8. One thing Microsoft didn’t talk about much, though, is security—and the new features in Windows 8 that will keep your PC and data safe.

With Windows 8, Microsoft takes the SmartScreen protectionwhich has been a very effective tool for guarding against malicious downloads when using Internet Explorerand extends it to the entire operating system. Now, SmartScreen will warn and protect you even if youre using an alternate browser, such as Firefox or Chrome, or just downloading a file across the network.

For organizations deploying Windows 8, Dynamic Access Control is also greatly enhanced. The current Dynamic Access Control lets IT admins restrict access to files and folders based on users and groups. The new Dynamic Access Control gives IT admins much more granular controlenabling access to be defined by virtually any Active Directory attribute.

For example, the old Dynamic Access Control allows for an organization to determine which users or groups are allowed to access a given folder. The new Dynamic Access Control enables an organization to allow access to a given folder as long as an individual is using an authorized company-issued iPad, but prevent that same individual from accessing the folder from their own personal iPad.

One last aspect of Windows 8 that contributes to better security is the focus on the Windows App Store. Microsoft wants individuals and organizations to migrate toward using apps that are developed to work within the Start screen Modern UI (the only software that will run with Windows RT). The upside for Windows 8 users is that the apps available in the App Store are vetted and scanned, so they should be inherently more secure.

Kandek sums up with, Personally, I am in line for upgrading my home Windows machine to Windows 8. Coming from the CTO of a company that deals in security, that says a lot about the security features of Windows 8.


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