Like Mac OS X Lion, Windows 8 will come with an applications marketplace. For getting work done on the platform, thats a good thing. However, as history has shown, some applications dont deliver the same level of security thats expected on Windows and that leads to trouble. It could very well happen again with apps on Windows 8.
Adobe's Flash Platform
Adobes Flash platform has long been a security issue on Windows. As Apple co-founder Steve Jobs pointed out years ago when he justified his decision to not bring Flash support to iOS, Adobes platform was among the chief reasons Mac OS X has gotten hit with security issues. Flash is arguably the biggest threat Windows users face right now. That might be very difficult to change on Windows 8.
As secure as Windows 8 might be, theres no telling if it will be able to safeguard users from threats that come about through social networks. With 800 million active users, Facebook has become a wildly popular service. But since billions of pieces of content are shared every day on the social network, a significant amount of malware inevitably sneaks through to compromise security on users computers. For instance, if a malicious link is shared on the service, theres no telling what kind of havoc it can wreak. Beware the threats posed from social networks.
Its not just Facebook. Twitter is home to millions of folks sharing links each day. And although the vast majority of those links are secure, thats not always the case. Even worse, users often click on links without checking the sites they point to. Its an issue. And its something that could cause some trouble for Windows 8 users.
Web Browsing Habits
Aside from Facebook and Twitter, Web browsing habits could also be cause for concern when it comes to security on Windows 8. Sometimes, people click on malicious links in a Google search, while other times they surf to sites that contain malware. In either case, trouble ensues —no matter the operating system the user is working with. It will be hard to eliminate malicious links as a major threat to Windows 8 security.
Email Will Remain a Persistent Threat
As computer users and corporate IT departments around the world know all too well, emails can be a hotbed for malicious activity. Not only can spam emails send people to malicious sites, but links shared through what purport to be safe emails can also cause trouble for users. And all that fails to mention the threat executable files can pose if theyre mistakenly downloaded to the desktop. Microsoft says it should be able to safeguard against all that, but theres no telling if it will succeed.
Increased Focus On Tablets
One of the key elements of Windows 8 is that its coming to tablets. For those who want more options in that market, its a good thing. But its also worth noting that malicious hackers are increasingly turning their attention to the mobile space, since they view it as the next frontier in money-making. Chances are, that means Windows 8 tablets will be heavily targeted. It will be interesting to see if the operating system can hold up against those new threats.
Over the years, Internet Explorer has been one of the easiest places for malicious hackers to take aim at Windows users. With Windows 8, Microsoft says that it has instituted a host of safeguards in Internet Explorer to ensure such trouble doesnt arise. In fact, the company has specifically targeted use after free memory vulnerabilities, which have been most troublesome for the operating system. But Microsoft has said in the past that Internet Explorer has been improved to bolster security and in far too many cases the improvements have fallen short of Microsofts promises.
A Sole Reliance Upon Windows Defender
Microsoft says that Windows Defender will get an overhaul in Windows 8. The company will allow the software to use all malware signatures from the Malware Protection Center. Some observe that with added protection against botnets and rootkits, this makes Defender the only tool people need to stay secure. As laughable as that sounds, some people might actually believe it. And if they only use Defender, its quite possible they find theyre not as secure as they thought they were.
Much has been made about Windows 8 security. From Microsoft on down to security experts, just about everyone is saying that the operating system will be the most secure OS ever. Those folks are also saying that it might be nearly impenetrable to threats. That hype could prove troublesome for Windows 8 users. One of the reasons people can stay secure on Windows 7 is their realization that trouble is out there; they stay vigilant. But if they think Windows 8 cannot be attacked, theyll get complacent. And in the process, they might just get targeted from all sides by security threats.