Windows 7 Delivers Multiple Levels of Security

By Don Reisinger  |  Posted 2009-11-11

10 Reasons Why Windows Security Is Better than Ever

Windows isn't very well known for providing the kind of security users really want. Windows has long been the favorite target of malicious hackers that have run amok in the operating system. Over the past few years, things have only gotten worse for Microsoft. Until Service Pack 2 was released for Windows XP, users were subject to a slew of security problems. Even Windows Vista didn't protect users as much as they would have liked, causing some folks to move to Apple's Mac OS X, which is generally believed to be more secure than Windows.

But with the release of Windows 7, Microsoft has done a fine job of retooling its operating system. No longer is it the danger-prone operating system that users once joked about. Today, Windows is more robust and secure than it ever has been. Although it won't stop every major outbreak that affects the Windows ecosystem, you can bet that it will stop several potential threats.

Here's why:

1. Microsoft Gets It

More than ever before, Microsoft now understands that it can't simply rest on its laurels, expecting both consumers and the enterprise to fall in line behind another new operating system. Microsoft finally realizes that in order for customers to want to switch to the new operating system, they must want to switch. Microsoft has proven that it understands that. Finally.

2. No
More Click Fatigue

In Windows Vista, User Account Control was awful. Users would see the UAC box pop up randomly and after a while, they stopped reading the messages and just clicked on the confirmation box to get rid of it. In the process, the feature that Microsoft hoped would reduce security issues, might have caused more problems. By not reading the warnings, users often allowed malicious files to run on their computers. In Windows 7, users can determine how aggressive UAC is. That should help it serve its purpose far more effectively than it has in the past.

3. Security Essentials

Microsoft's decision to add Security Essentials to Windows 7 is extremely important. The software helps safeguard users from spyware, viruses and any other kind of malware that can wreak havoc on a PC. Microsoft even made the software available to Windows XP and Windows Vista owners. It should be noted that Security Essentials by itself won't solve all the security woes that impact Windows, but most security experts say it will do a fine job of addressing many of them. That should translate into a safer, more secure Windows.

4. Biometrics for

Although biometric technology has been a part of the Windows platform for years, Windows 7 has brought biometric drivers to the operating system. That will allow developers to simply use Windows' biometric drivers without worrying about creating their own. It's no small addition. Aside from the obvious security advantages of biometric technology, Microsoft's decision to provide the drivers reduces the possibility of a malicious hacker gaining access to the PC through the third-party developer's software. The less software running on a computer, the better.

Windows 7 Delivers Multiple Levels of Security

5. Windows Action Center

Windows Action Center is another major improvement over the former Vista Security Center. In Windows 7, users can now access everything from firewall protection to malware detection and backup reminders. Windows Action Center puts all the important elements of data preservation in one place to ensure that users are more aware of what they need to do to stay secure.

6. DirectAccess
for VPN Connections

DirectAccess might be one of the most significant additions to the Windows ecosystem. In essence, the feature allows users to securely connect to a work VPN without setting up and maintaining that VPN manually. In Windows 7, the bridge between the two networks is secured during the entire session. It takes the user out of the equation and in the process, makes Windows even more secure.

7. DNSSEC Support

Although it's not one of the touted additions to Windows 7, DNSSEC support is extremely important. It's a little complicated (which is probably why Microsoft doesn't promote it too often), but in essence, DNSSEC validates data received from the Web. The validation is done at the server level, but the DNS client expects a security validation. If it doesn't receive it, the data is blocked off, thus providing an added layer of security to the network. It's not something users will see often, but it's especially useful for enterprises looking to secure their networks.

8. IEEE-1667
Is Finally Here

IEEE-1667 is a standard established by the IEEE that authenticates USB flash drives before they can gain access to a PC. Windows 7 supports the standard, which means any and all drives plugged into a computer will be automatically validated to ensure data cannot be accessed by third parties. It's especially useful for companies that want to be able to store data on flash drives, but don't want that data to leak out.

9. BitLocker Improvements

BitLocker, Microsoft's drive-encryption technology is more useful than ever. Rather than only allowing users to encrypt a drive that's directly attached to the PC, users can now use Microsoft's BitLocker To Go to encrypt transient data found on USB flash drives. Once again, it's an extremely important feature for the enterprise.

10. The Apple

Finally, and perhaps most importantly, Windows is more secure today because of Apple. For the past few years, Apple has been winning on the marketing front, driving the point home that Windows just isn't as secure as Apple's operating system. It pushed some users to Mac OS X. And Microsoft knows it. When it designed Windows 7, Microsoft had a goal in mind: make Windows' security as strong as possible to eliminate Apple's advantage.

Whether or not it has beaten Apple on security is up for debate. But if nothing else, we know that Windows is more secure than ever.

Rocket Fuel