3 Ways Windows 8 is More Secure Than Its Previous Versions

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When Windows 8 was first introduced, it went through a lot of criticism because of its newly introduced Modern (previously called, Metro) user interface. Even though Windows 8 is not loved as much as the previous versions like XP and 7, it does have its perks when it comes to usability, efficiency and security.

Despite all the rage for Windows 8, Microsoft strengthened many security points and even introduced some low level guards which make it hard to find and exploit security vulnerabilities in Windows. In fact, Windows 8 is the most secure version when you compare it to the older versions, but sadly, security is one of the things that is mostly overlooked by giving priority to looks.

Here are the top 3 reasons why Windows 8 prevails on its previous versions like XP, Vista and 7 when you see it from the security standpoint.

Secure boot, or sometimes referred to as Trusted boot, is a security feature which uses the new UEFI firmware rather than the regular BIOS. All the new Windows 8 PCs have secure boot enabled by default which ensures greater security. That said, this new secure boot feature ensures that only approved and signed software can run at the boot time (even before Windows is started), which simply means that you don’t have to worry about the boot level root-kits or malware. These boot level root-kits and malware can be a real disaster because they are mostly undetectable and will do a lot of awful things that jeopardize your privacy and data.

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Of course, you can easily disable, enable or add your own certificates to the secure boot so that you can use other operating systems like Ubuntu or dual boot.

Windows 8 has its own integrated Antivirus software “Windows Defender”. This little built-in anti-virus module is handy and has all the basic functions like real-time scanning, on-demand scanning, quarantining suspicious files, etc. Windows Defender is so capable that there is no need for you to install any third-party anti-virus solution unless you are doing something crazy.

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Because it is integrated directly with your Windows 8 OS, it provides you with pretty good basic security and doesn’t hog your limited memory. However, if you install any third party anti-virus solution, Windows Defender will be disabled automatically to ensure that there won’t be any clashes with the installed anti-virus solution.

Windows Smart Screen filter is a security at operating system level. Basically what it does is that it will scan all the EXE files you have downloaded using your browser and sends its file signatures to the Microsoft servers. If there is anything suspicious about that downloaded file, then Windows will block that file from running. If the file that Windows scanned is just new (i.e. if it doesn’t have any records of it), then it will display a warning message.

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App Sandbox is another handy security feature where it sandboxes all the Modern apps. Basically, all the Modern apps are like your regular mobile apps. They have limited access, and they can’t do stuff like monitoring your activity, logging keystrokes, having access to every file in your system, etc. Simply put, unlike the regular desktop apps, Modern apps are regulated and restricted in what they can do with your operating system.

Moreover, you can only download and install the Modern apps by visiting the Microsoft store. This further reduces the possibility of downloading a malicious app from a dubious website.

All in all, Microsoft has taken several steps to ensure maximum security with all those little but subtle features. Sure, many of us may argue that it still lags behind Mac and Linux, but Windows has its own way. So what do think? Is Windows secure enough with all those new and improved features? Do share your thoughts and experiences.

15 comments

  1. The 3rd point is really interesting. It has made me think about upgrading from Win 7… but not yet.

  2. “3 Ways Windows 8 is More Secure Than Its Previous Versions”
    That’s like saying that chicken-wire fence is more secure because it has smaller holes than a chainlink fence. Being secure is like being pregnant, either you are or you aren’t. There is no in-between state.

    Whether by incomepetence or by design, the Windows kernel itself is flawed. No amount of patches will ever be able to fix that. Only a complete re-write from the ground up, with a concomitant change in philosophy, will ever make Windows into a secure operating system. Whether Microsoft is ever allowed by any of the parties involved to re-write Windows properly, is an another question.

    • An example:
      A baby is not very strong but is protected by others. If the baby has strong parents, there is good protection. Add more family and the protection is better even though the baby has not changed. Throw in some body guards and the baby has some very good protection. Yes the baby will grow, but left to it’s own devices, it will not be able to increase his/her protection on it’s own for a while. Never the less, you can improve protection / security WITHOUT recoding the entire operating system.

      • I see Windows rather like patching a bicysle tire over and over and over again. After a while there no nore tire, only patches which still leak air at the seams. :-)

  3. The problem with Win8.1 is not how it looks. The problem is how it works.

    The “Modern” interface is nice for handheld devices, but annoying when you have to get some work done at your desk. Desktops have spread out over two or three screens to present the data we work with, not to have a bunch of oversize icons (I don’t care what “modern” name Microsoft has given them.) filling those screens.

    They have increased the the complexity of the interface, and made it less efficient. Need to open a new instance of Windows Explorer? In XP you could click on the icon in the quickstart area. Now you have to right click, the left click to get that new window.

    The “Modern” interface is ok on a mobile device. On a desktop it is annoying.

  4. The new security features are amazing and much needed. I think Microsoft should be recognized for its effort to turn Windows into a full modern OS that can detect and manage threats on a continuing basis, and do it without too much user involvement. People complain about the interface, but you can simply click the Desktop tile and get back an interface very similar to Win 7.

  5. I have worked with computers for over 40 years. Mainframes to micros with a variety of interfaces. Some of my collegues that I have known throughout have sometimes regularly commented negetavely about the interface for ‘the new system’ on whatever platform we use.
    It occured to me years ago that people just like to complain about anything new. And these days they will do it without ever trying the new thing.
    Many people complained bitterly about Windows Vista when it was released. Windows 7 has the same interface, but everyone likes it.

    I have a client who was in need of an upgrade from XP. His wife told him and me that she didn’t like Windows 8. I asked if she had ever used it and she had not.
    When I went over to do the Windows 7 installation, I brought my Windows 8 laptop. I ended up demonstrating it to them and at the conclussion of the ‘show’ she asked if they could have Windows 8 instead of Windows 7.

    I finally upgraded my office computer to Windows 8.1 but only after I used it on a virtual machine for a few weeks to get used to it and make sure I knew how to get around. In my opinion a wheel mouse is an essential part of using Windows 8/8.1 on a desktop…even with a touch screen.

    I now have about a large percentage of my client base wanting Windows 8.

    My personal issue with Windows 8 is not, with Windows 8 in particular, but with Microsoft not correcting some limitations. Specifically, the ‘file name too long’ problem. If the operating system can’t manage these files, whey let them be created? Or if you allow them to be created, why not make it so they can be managed?

    • People will complain about anything new because they are familiar/comfortable with it and chances are that anything new requires a disquieting learning curve.

      Metro/Modern interface was designed for touch-enabled devices. Win 8.x may offer a Classic interface but the fact remains that Metro is cumbersome on non-touch terminals.

  6. Yes, Windows 8 is secure enough. I also am in the minority that likes the new interface and I love the Windows Store – installing software or moving it from an old computer to a new one has always been a nightmare on Windows, and this should help a lot, so I prefer 8 to 7.

    Where it fails for me is under the hood. They should have blown it up, started with a small, fast, secure core, and run old software through virtualization (and Microsoft owns good virtualization software). Win 8 is just way too big and slow to be an efficient tablet OS, and, worse, the presence of the registry, which should have been gone years ago, will degrade performance over time.

    • Hi bob, yes you are right at each point and I especially agree that Windows in its current form is too big to be in tablets :).

    • “Windows 8 is secure enough”
      Sorry Bob, but when it comes to Security “securire enough” just doesn’t cut it. Would you trust your money to a bank which described their online transactions as “secure enough”? Would you wear a bullet-proof vest that the manufacturer claimed was “good enough”? If Windows is “secure enough”, why does the Windows security industry exist? Win 8 is secure enough to give users such as yourself a false sense of security.

      In comparison to the security provided by the *nixes, Windows has the security of a leaky sieve.

  7. “Windows 8 has its own integrated Antivirus software “Windows Defender”. WD appears to be the same ol same ol MSSE. What gives? That is secure, when MS admits that MSSE is a baseline?
    Something which is better than nothing, but nothing even appearing in AV Comparatives? I call that the MS shinola. Or would you like to prove it has an improved performance over MSSE? If so, why not change the GUI so we don’t get flabbergasted? Why, oh why do folks hate Win 8?

    • Hi Robb, you are absolutely right!!! WD is a baseline antivirus solution, but baseline doesn’t necessarily mean worst. In fact, most free antiviruses out in the internet comes lots of bloatware like shredders, tune-up’s, not-so-useful firewalls, etc.

      So, unless you are doing something crazy with your PC, WD would be a better choice.

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