23 Jul Windows 10 Will Use Virtualization For Extra Security
Microsoft explores new security strategies based on virtualization to better protect enterprise customers from malware and identity theft.
When we’re talking about Windows 10 features, security upgrades are often edged out of the spotlight by flashy additions like Cortana for desktop, Microsoft Edge, and Universal Apps.
Perhaps this is because Microsoft is targeting a broad consumer audience with its new operating system, and many people don’t care quite as much about nitty-gritty security details as they do about the return of the Start menu. Increased security is not an attention-grabber for everyone
That said, there are still plenty of consumers and enterprise customers who want to know how their devices and data will be protected on Windows 10. We’re living and working in an age of heightened security risk. The question is not whether an attack will happen, but when.
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“The threats that we’re seeing are dramatically different from what we saw four years ago,” Chris Hallum, senior product manager for Windows business security, said in an interview with InformationWeek. “Organizations are still getting breached, even when they have the very best security solutions.”
Today’s attacks are more aggressive and targeted. Detection-based models for pinpointing malware are no longer enough. Most hackers use one of two avenues in a security breach: identity theft and increasingly advanced malware.
In Windows 7 and 8, Microsoft implemented security measures that now seem incremental in hindsight, said Hallum. The goals were to build taller and thicker “walls” for enhancing security, and to create more “speed bumps” to prevent attacks.
While this made it harder for hackers to get through, it didn’t eliminate any specific class of attacks.
Hackers began to adopt new capabilities faster than Microsoft was changing its features. As data breaches began to escalate rapidly, the team decided it was time to “fundamentally change the game with attackers,” Hallum explained.
“With Windows 10, we took the time to change the platform to make the interior hard as the exterior,” he continued. One of the biggest security updates in Windows 10 is the use of virtualization as a means of preventing identity theft and distribution of malware.
The Windows component that facilitates communication, also known as the local security authority (LSA), can give a hacker full authentication if successfully compromised. In Windows 10, the LSA is moved into a separate container that serves as a virtualization-based security (VBS) environment.