Lets talk about How Windows 8 is more secured than Windows 7. There’s a lot more to Windows 8 than a new interface to Windows 7. The security improvements are noteworthy with an application reputation system, protection from boot time root kits and an integrated antivirus. There are also a few low level security improvements that have not been disclosed fully. It has been seen that memory management of Windows 8 is more secure and the security managements are difficult to exploit.
The integrated antivirus available with Windows 8 is very much similar to Microsoft Security Essentials to the extent that most users suggest Windows Defender is a renamed version of Microsoft Security Essentials. The interface of Windows Defender is a lot similar to it. Although it is the default antivirus, you can easily disable it and install an antivirus of your choice. It assures that all Windows 8 users have an antivirus protection.
SmartScreen filter at the OS level
SmartScreen filter that is used on Windows 8 was previously only used on Internet Explorer. It is used for scanning .exe files that you download from your web browser. Once the file is downloaded, double click on the .exe file, Windows will scan the file and send the signature to Microsoft’s server. If the application is known bad and might contain malware, Windows will prevent it from running. Otherwise, if it is a new application Windows doesn’t know about, it’ll give a warning and allow you to bypass the warning. If it is known good, Windows allows the application to run. New pieces of malware too are detected by SmartScreen filter and a warning is issued saying the program be approached with caution.
Early launch Anti-Malware feature
Early launch anti –malware feature of Windows 8 allows antivirus products to start earlier in the boot up process and scan the system’s driver for virus. It helps protect the system from rootkits that start before the antivirus activates. Windows Defender starts earlier in the boot process and there is an option for third party antivirus to add Early Launch Anti Malware feature to its product.
Sandboxed News apps
Windows store apps for Windows 8 now comes with a modern interface, sandboxed and restricted in what they can do on the user’s computer. On regular desktops, applications install with administrator like privilege and can install drivers on your system, read files from anywhere in the system and also install malware on your computer. Even if an app runs with limited credentials, they can do anything they want during installation. Windows 8 apps are more like mobile apps or web pages. They have limited access to your system. It does not have the ability to run in the background and monitor your keystrokes, logging your online banking passwords or credit card number like other traditional Windows Desktop applications.
Also, apps for Windows 8 are only available through Windows Store and Malicious modern apps from outside store cannot be installed.
There have been a lot of improvements in Windows 8 when it comes to Memory management. It is attributed to these improvements that even if a security loophole is present, it is almost impossible to exploit it. Not all improvements have been disclosed, some which have been, are,
- Mitigations, previously employed to Windows Applications, are now applied to Windows Kernel too.
- Three fourth of the security vulnerabilities reported in the last two years, have been taken care of by improvements made in Internet Explorer 10.
- Address Space Layout Randomization has been extended to most parts such that the code and data are placed randomly, making it more difficult to exploit.
- Windows heaps, now includes additional checks to provide better defense against exploit techniques.
When it comes to security, Windows 8 is far more secure than Windows 7 or earlier versions. It is best for new, inexperienced users who are not well versed with using antivirus or do not know which apps are safe to be installed. The integrated antivirus is a big plus point and so is the tamed app ecosystem that allows only limited access to any app. There are many low level improvements too to look out for, not just for newbies but also power users.