2013 is going to be a exciting year in technology thanks to the evolution of nano technology and Windows 8. Windows 8 (the next phase of human-machine interaction) has partnered with Intel to harness the power of nano technology in a new breed of computers (e.g. the Ultrabooks, 4″X4″ Next Unit of Computing). Windows 8 offers unified computing, a new generation of sensor technology and the signature Windows 8 UI. Personally, I love Windows 8. From an everyday users perspective it’s a breeze to use, it’s interesting and fun. The app store has loads of free apps, useful apps, business apps, technical tools and utilities apps, entertainment, SBS TV - you can connect via HDMI to large screens and TV’s, plug in high speed ethernet when your wifi streaming frustration peaks and enjoy the multimedia.
The apps all seamlessly integrate into the Windows 8 user interface shown in the image above.
Some of the most important developments in Windows 8 relate to security, personal identity protection, and safety of your data, and not without good reason. 2012 seen an unprecedented rise in cyber attacks, identity theft and stealing credit card details, according to cyber-industry experts in Australia. We can expect more of the same in 2013, its a profitable business.
Here in Perth, in the trenches, we sometimes discover viruses, botnets, and spyware or keyloggers (programs which record your key strokes looking for credit card strings) which users were unaware of. For some cyber crims it’s been easy pickings.
Windows 8 is going to be bad for business.
The new security features under the hood of Windows 8 will put a dent in the profits of cyber-criminals. These are seriously good and effective security protocols. We’ve shown our top 5.
1. Trusted Boot
while many viruses today are related to the mid 1990’s variants of Vundoo virus, they are far more sophisticated, utilising the vulnerability of the boot process for example. In Windows 8, for systems with UEFI (Unified Extensible Firmware Interface) enabled BIOS (most current generation computers), the boot processes interact with the operating system to test for valid digital certificates. If the boot codes have changed (i.e. infected) the process reverts the changes.
2. Antivirus program starts first
Windows 8 tweaks startup to give your antivirus priority at load time. Antivirus like Bitdefender performs a startup scan. If the virus or malware is attempting a runtime startup AV scan may be helpful.
3. Do Not Track
A few months ago I wrote about Googling the phone number of a dentist in my area from my mobile phone. The next day or two I received an email offering dental work on the cheap from a dentist in Phnom Penh. This might be an example of browser spying (or a coincidence) commonly known as user tracking for marketing purposes. The problem is this technology, dominated by cookies, is being used by cyber-criminals (read this post). The Do-Not-Track feature in IE10 applies to the immersive browser version in the Windows 8 UI.
4. Windows Smartscreen
Smartscreen is an app integrity safety feature using reputation-based technologies to check apps from the Windows 8 Store for malicious code. Smartscreen is also a feature of the new IE10 to offer a layer of protection against theft of passwords and usernames.
5. The Windows PDF Reader
PDF readers are commonplace in computing so it stands to reason it is also a common attack vector. Windows 8 comes with its own inbuilt PDF reader. Users typically forget to update reader software or don’t know how. The PDF Reader in Windows 8 will be updated with security updates and patches via Windows update. This is another example of good work and Microsoft’s committment to security outside of enterprise.