Microsoft’s Windows 7 is the most secure version from the software giant’s desktop operating system. The company had updated various security options while transitioned from Windows XP to Windows Vista. But, in the recent Windows 7, Microsoft has enhanced those security features and adds some new features as well in the operating system. The company also incorporates users’ feedback to make the security features intuitive and user-friendly.
Recently, the company’s security intelligence report has published, which states that there are various enhancements in security from Windows XP to Windows 7. But, also report few missing apps.
Here are few things that Microsoft got right with Windows 7 security:
Core System Security Microsoft has developed Security Development Lifecycle (SDL) for Windows 7, which offers a strong foundation against malicious software and virus attacks. Like Vista, SDL features Kernel Patch Protection, Data Execution Prevention (DEP), Address Space Layout Randomization (ASLR), and Mandatory Integrity Levels. It is reported that ASLR makes it difficult to access the core functions reside in the memory. It means that each time you boot your system; libraries are transferred into random memory addresses. Further, DEP saves the storage areas that are specifically intended to hold data.
BitLocker-to-Go In Vista, Microsoft had developed BitLocker drive encryption, which was only capable of encrypting the primary operating system volume. But now, in Windows 7, the company has included the ability to encrypt data on USB thumb drives. Today, USB drives can store GBs of data therefore enhancement of BitLocker for such drives has increased the security features of the operating system. But, to start BitLocker Drive Encryption, users’ disk volumes should be configured properly.
Internet Explorer 8 Users can also download the Microsoft’s latest web browser for other operating system, but analysts said that with the launch of IE8, Microsoft started taking browser security seriously. The new updated version has a new protection tool called SmartScreen, which offers anti-phishing/anti-malware URL filtering as in Google Chrome and Mozilla Firefox. Further, IE8 highlights the actual domain of the URL in bold on the address bar.
UAC (User Account Control) UAC, was introduced in Vista, allows firms to deploy the operating system without granting administrator access to users. In windows 7, Microsoft introduces more flexible interface for UAC. In the settings, user can configure its UAC among four levels of protection, ranging from “Always Notify” to “Never Notify.”
Where Microsoft misses the bus? However, various developers suggest that few things are missing in the new Operating system and said that the company can take some ideas for Windows 8.
Windows Firewall Microsoft has been incorporating personal firewall protection into the operating system since the launch of Windows XP. But, experts complain that it only restrict inbound traffic, but, did not allow checking or filtering traffic outbound from the Windows PC. However, Microsoft has addressed that in Windows 7, but experts said that the company has lot to do for a right balance between security and performance.
Hidden File Extensions In Windows 7, the company maintains to hide the names of file extensions by default. The idea is that it does not want to confuse the users with details like 'docx', or 'xls', or 'mp3'. But, analysts said that by knowing the extensions, users can demarcate “exe” files from other general formats.
XP Mode Virtualization Microsoft has introduced the virtualized version of Windows XP called "XP Mode" through which Windows 7 users can run programs that are not compatible with the new operating system. But, the security concern is that the XP environment in the machine is not protected like the Windows 7 security controls.
Anuj Kumar/ITvoir Network
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