Microsoft are planning to make the new operating system Windows 7 available in the market in the common few days (Oct 22), but what Microsoft added to this operating system from the security scope?
Windows 7 has a very interesting security application which is AppLocker, the AppLocker helps users to control applications on the Operating System, and the OS Administrator can clearly define the programs allowed to be run by users. Controls all types of files that can harm the system including (exe,msi,msp) , scripts (bat,cmd,vbs,js) and libraries(dll,ocx). On previous operating system to make such restrictions we should involve complicated software controlling policies SRP (Software Restriction Policies). Customizing AppLocker can be made over the server Win2k8 R2 Group policy and you can specify the file path and digital signature.
Sharing computers with other is very often at the work environment or at the Cyber Coffee and you can find that users likes to change settings or to remove someone else files here Microsoft has integrated the PC safeguard, so by activating this service, when the user exit the session all setting changes performed will be cancelled and all new files will be deleted. Previously to have this functionality on the PC it was necessary to implement a separate tool SteadyState for Windows.
BitLocker , this is a fully system encryption, it was first introduced at Windows Vista SP1. During the Installation 2 partition are automatically created (Boot, System) and you can encrypt the system partition and pull there your sensitive files. BitLockerToGo also allows encrypting external storage devices after formatting (FAT/FAT32, ExFAT or NTFS). Data access is possible only to authorized users by performing authentication mechanisms like (password, smartcard…).
Now what about Windows Firewall?
The first Windows Firewall version was on WindowsXP SP1 and on SP2 it becomes by default. But many users have not find it useful because you can just enable or disable it nothing to monitor and a lot of vulnerability that allows an intruder to accede the system by exploiting WF Bugs,a very limited functionality by filtering only the inbound traffic. Vista updated the firewall that it calls “Windows Security Center”.
The main enhancement on WF includes:
- Outbound traffic filtering
- Detecting certain types of network attacks
- Network security access control programs
- Support for IPv6 and IPsec.
- Setting parameters via Group Policy Objects(GPO)
WF includes a three dynamic profiles (domain,private,public), the system automatically identifies the network and applies the appropriate profile, but here if you will connect to another network next time Windows will apply the same previous profile because there is the Network Location Awareness (NLA) service that holds the information about network in his database. So this can restrict your Internet connection.
On Windows 7 you can customize the profile as you wish. For example you can activate (Block all incoming connections, including those in the list of allowed programs) this will provide maximum protection and be notified about any program tries to access the Internet by activating (Notify me when Windows Firewall blocks a new program), so it is easy to configure.
To open a port on WF in vista you must specify multiple ports and be separated with comma but in widows 7 you can specify a range of ports this is very comfortable.
Now what about the Office UAC (User Account Control)?
In windows working with the Admin account makes your work very comfortable, all actions are allowed, does not require any additional permissions to install software updates, access to the hard disk partition… and here what about viruses?
Under the privileged mode the user intentionally can click on any icon open any webpage that may be infected and harm the system. With UAC user are invited to confirm any action lunched on the system, The mechanism is simple enough and at the same time effective, but it is annoying because system requests to accept the action for any new program installation or executable file to run.
To disable UAC take a look at TweakUAC a free software tool that you can use to quickly turn UAC (User Account Control of Windows Vista) on or off, or to make UAC operate in the quiet mode.
There are a lot of changes in Windows 7 that provides Simple users and Administrators more opportunities to organize a comfortable and safe environment.
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