GMA News Online

Pre-installed antivirus program highlights Windows 8 security features

May 20, 2012 2:35pm
A pre-installed antivirus program - the first in the platform's history - will highlight the new security features Microsoft has readied for its upcoming Windows 8 operating system.

Tech site PC World said on Friday that Windows 8 will come with an upgraded version of the anti-spyware app Windows Defender, one that now has antivirus functions.

"Windows Defender now provides similar protection - and a similar look and feel - to that of the free Microsoft Security Essentials antivirus program, which Microsoft has offered to users as an optional download since 2009," PC World said.

While Windows Defender will provide "basic" protection against viruses and malware, PC World said this may render optional the buying of yearly antivirus subscriptions or downloading a free AV app.

However, it said users can still disable Windows Defender and use another antivirus utility.

Windows 8 will also have better download screening, using a SmartScreen filter like that in Internet Explorer 9 to help detect and block potentially malicious programs.

"(T)he function complements IE's website filtering, which works to block phishing and malicious sites. Starting with Windows 8, the program-monitoring portion of the SmartScreen Filter is built into Windows itself, and it will work whether you’re using IE, Firefox, Chrome, or any other browser," the site said.

An added bonus of sorts for Windows users is that with SmartScreen filtering potentially unwanted apps, Microsoft will remove the previous Security Warning alerts when one first opens a downloaded program.

"This is a welcome change, as it cuts down on the number of alerts you have to click through--with Windows 8, you'll see an alert only when something's amiss," it said.

New kind of password

Windows 8 also introduces two new password types one can use when logging in to a Windows account: a four-digit PIN and a "picture password."

A picture password uses a photo or image and requires the user to draw three gestures - circles, straight lines, or taps/clicks - in different places.

Other expected features of Windows 8 include the new Unified Extensible Firmware Interface (UEFI) boot method, which replaces the archaic BIOS boot system.

With UEFI, boot can start up in as little as eight seconds.

"The Secure Boot feature of UEFI will prevent advanced malware [such as bootkits and rootkits] from causing damage, and it will stop other boot loader attacks [such as malware that loads unauthorized operating systems] as well," PC World added. - AMD, GMA News

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