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.
1. Secure Boot
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.
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.
2. Built-In Antivirus
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.
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.
3. Smart Screen Filter and App Sandbox
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.
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.
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