There’s so much hype regarding Microsoft’s Windows 8 which will be released later this year. The new and improved OS boasts of a new interface that would streamline the experience across PCs and mobile devices such as tablets and smartphones.
So what’s so great about Windows 8? What makes it different from older Microsoft operating systems? Well, for one, they’re getting tougher on malware and piracy.
Tougher Windows OS
Windows 8 will feature a picture password sign in option so unauthorized users, like pesky brothers/sisters/annoying roommate won’t be able to set their eyes on your secrets. As for those people who like using pirated OS, this will be very bad news for you: the Unified Extensible Firmware Interface (UEFI) will replace BIOS ROM in order to verify software before it executes and ensure that no untrusted code runs before the operating system loads. Then there’s the built-in antivirus, Windows Defender, which automatically activates when no AV solution is detected.
Chris Valasek, a senior security research scientist at development testing firm Coverity discussed with The Register how Microsoft drastically changed their security measures in order to keep up with the flourishing malware attacks. They designed Windows Memory Managers (specifically the Windows Heap Manager and Windows Kernel Pool Allocator) to make it extremely hard for attackers to exploit buffer-overflow vulnerabilities and the like to push malware onto vulnerable systems.
“There are always going to be vulnerabilities but you can make it difficult to leverage vulnerabilities to write exploits,” Valasek explained. “It’d be naive to think there’ll be no new vulns.”
Another thing Microsoft tweaked is their app store as it will restrict apps to only perform actions that are needed in their declared functions. So even if malware-laced apps get into their app store, they will prevented to wreak havoc.
“These new Windows 8 Apps will be contained by a much more restrictive security sandbox, which is a mechanism to prevent programs from performing certain actions,” Valasek explains. “This new App Container provides the operating system with a way to make more fine-grained decisions on what actions certain applications can perform, instead of relying on the more broad ‘Integrity Levels’ that debuted in Windows Vista/7.”