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Tag: Windows 10

Windows 10 – Safety Features That Make Us Want To Upgrade

August 25, 2015

Microsoft operating system updates are designed to resolve issues concerned with the previous version as well as making computing easier for the end-users. Keeping in line, Windows 10 comes with many new features and applications to improve functionality. As far as security is concerned, this latest OS comes pre-loaded with several updates in order to protect users from hacking attacks.

Here are some of the important features in Windows 10 that can enhance user security:

  • Two-Factor Authentication: Windows 10 has incorporated two essential safety features to protect the privacy of users – Windows Hello and an update of Windows Passport. The former one involves a two factor authentication method for the users to view any stored data. They will be required to enter one validation element as well as a PIN number or a biometric feature such as retina or fingerprint scan. Taking it a step further, Windows Passport allows the users to enter the biometric authentication element to access the entire system. This eliminates the need to remember easy-to-hack passwords.
  • “On-The-Fly” Encryption: For people who use personal devices for work, this feature will provide additional security to safeguard their office data. The encryption feature called ‘Data Loss Prevention’ will recognize the data associated with your work, separate it from other files and encrypt it using the updated version of ‘BitLocker’. Anything found to be work-related is placed into a safer portal.
  • Device Guard: This feature in Windows 10 will help to determine if a file is safe or contains any sort of malware. The Device Guard will quickly scan all the programs and data to detect any potential threat. If found, the user will be alerted and left to decide if he wants to open the file or not.
  • Edge Browser: With Windows 10, Microsoft is also releasing its improved and safer browser, Edge. Initially named as Project Spartan, Edge is designed to make up for the security flaws in Internet Explorer. The browser will allow users to access websites through their Windows Passport authentication code instead of the passwords. Additionally, Edge will not support ActiveX updates and work in a sandbox mode to protect against malware or hacking attacks.
  • Automatic Antivirus Update: Installing Windows 10 will also automatically update your antivirus software. Your previous anti-virus will be removed and then re-installed to the latest version with updated malware, virus as well as spyware definitions. In case your anti-virus subscription has ended, the system will install Windows Defender.

The safety features in Windows 10 will be of great help for the large business firms in managing a complex networking infrastructure and maintaining IT security.

Wi-Fi Password Sharing Feature In Windows 10 Raises Security Concerns

July 16, 2015

With Microsoft taking its last leap with the Windows 10, most tech professionals are looking forward to the new competences added to this operating system. One such feature, that has managed to garner more controversies than commendations, is the ‘Wi-Fi Sense’. Essentially, it is a mode of sharing network information among users. It is designed to allow an easy and quick connection to in-range password protected wireless hotspots within friends. Though Microsoft initially rolled out this Wi-Fi password sharing feature in Windows Phone 8.1, it did not gain much popularity due to its limited user base.

How Does Wi-Fi-Sense Work?

Wi-Fi Sense enables users to share network connection with their Facebook, Skype and Outlook contacts. Working at the back-end, this feature agrees to Wi-Fi terms and conditions, shares log-in credentials as well as connects your friends whenever they are in-range of the network that you want to share. Hence, if any of your friends tries to access your internet connection, Wi-Fi Sense will evaluate his actions and provide access spontaneously, without making the password visible to him. Other users, who are in your contact list and have Windows 10 on their device, will also have their network details shared with you, provided they have enabled Wi-Fi Sense.

Security Risks With Wi-Fi Sense

According to Microsoft’s official sources, the Wi-Fi password is shared in an encrypted form through the company’s internal servers. The user is granted access only to internet connection and not to the files or data stored in your system. However, even the basic sharing of password may compromise the security of your network and make it vulnerable to various hacking attacks. The idea of sharing internet connection can be great for family and friends, but not for corporate settings. Sharing passwords with all your Facebook, Outlook and Skype contacts could also mean inadvertently providing your network information to people whom you barely know.

The best way to safeguard your network from these privacy risks is by taking a few preventive measures. As the feature is likely to be enabled by default in Windows 10 PCs and laptops, make sure you turn it off. However, it is a not a perfect solution for business firms that encourage bring your own device (BYOD) culture. Another option to keep your network out of Wi-Fi Sense is to add the phrase “_optout” to its name. For instance, if your internet connection is named “mynetwork”, you must change it to “mynetwork_optout”.

Considering the security concerns emerging around Wi-Fi Sense, it is recommended that you use 802.1X authentication or implement stricter access controls to your network connection.

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