Security is one of the key aspect of any operating system. Ergo, every new version and update strengthens this backbone. This holds true for Microsoft’s operating systems as well. In a blog post posted on Windows website, Chris Hallum, Senior Product Manager on the Windows Team has described about the unprecedented security level in their latest operating system for desktop, Windows 8. And rightly so, as Windows 8 evidently has a range of features that wasn’t seen before.
To begin with, Windows 8 facilitates Universal Extensible Firmware Interface (UEFI), coining the term Secure Boot, this feature makes your computer unbeatable against the malware that usually inject itself in the middle ground of your operating system file (the booting process) and hardware. UEFI detects untrusted code in the boot path and prevents it from execution. Other than that, we also have improved version of TPM (Trusted Platform Module), which essentially makes the technology more feasible to public. Among many other things, the operating system also has better encryption for hard drives, which make it too tough for intruders to get access to your files.
Other than that, Chris also writes about the rapid rose in security breach attacks, and pointed out how hackers have started targeting almost everyone, irrespective of victim’s job and financial details.
Technology evolved and so did the bad guys. In an infographic posted at their site, Microsoft reveals some great factoids.
It is no doubt that Windows XP was a great operating system back in the day, as it had many advanced security features. But trusting this decade old OS will not only hinder your productivity but also land you in a security prone area.
Back in 2001, we had about 50 million people who were using the internet. Now we have 2.7 billion!
In the good old days, the activity on the internet was not this fast paced and voluminous. Compared to today’s 297 billion emails that are send every day and an interweb of 640 million websites, in 2001 we had only 40 million websites and just 31 billion emails were exchanged everyday.
It is also worth mentioning that it was the era of fax machines, and IRCs (chat rooms), and people preferred to meet in-person for business meetings. And majority of them were using Dial-Up connection anyway. Compare it to today’s world where people are addicted to Facebook, Twitter, Google Plus and other social networking websites. The internet is faster than ever, just last year Google among many other companies turned on IPv6 capability, and switched to the commercial internet. (You and I are all using the experimented version of the internet)
The internet is so fast, secure and feasible that we rather store our files in cloud than physical drives. In terms of number of devices, year 2001 witnessed the first smartphone ever, compare it to the millions of devices Samsung alone ships in a quarter.
Internet is a great place to be at, but just like the real world, it too has bad people. When the technology was setting new milestones, hackers too were programming complicated and powerful exploits. Back in the day, the risk of getting hacked was much lower, and the attack were less effective and detrimental. Today hackers shoot at a specific target, steal your credit card and other personal information, and DDOS attack has become too popular. Unlike that era, today hackers are politically motivated, well-funded, and if you look at some of the past attacks, even government has done illicit acts.
Misha Glenny, a security analyst and author of many popular books in his TED talk quoted one of his friend who works at a security firm,
“There are two type of companies in the world. Those who know they have been hacked and those who don’t.”
This might give you a better idea of how much troubled world we are living in. All the three companies that provide cyber security to FBI have been hacked.
Interestingly, Microsoft has also pinned down the security status of its old operating systems. According to the same blog post, Windows XP is 21 times and Windows 7 is 6 times more likely to get infected than Windows 8. And just so you know, 3rd party fancy antivirus software and firewalls are not enough to protect you.