Microsoft Bolsters Security Features in Windows 10 Creators Update

Windows 10's next big update will include new tools that help businesses better control their PCs and keep their data safe.

Windows 10 Security 2

Although aimed at creative professionals and virtual reality (VR) enthusiasts, the upcoming Creators Update for Windows 10 will also contain features for security-conscious IT administrators, Microsoft announced. And not a moment too soon.

Windows 10 adoption among enterprise customers is picking up, said Microsoft's Rob Lefferts, director of program Management at Windows Enterprise and Security. Over the past six months, there has been a three-fold increase in deployments of Microsoft's latest desktop operating system (OS) among enterprises, he claimed.

Now that the OS is showing up in more businesses, the Redmond, Wash., software giant is focusing on improving its hardiness against malware and other threats. First, Microsoft is building on the Windows Security Center, first introduced in this past summer's Anniversary Update. The portal will soon link to the Office 365 Advanced Threat Protection service, allowing IT personnel to track attacks as they attempt to wend their way across client systems and email inboxes.

"In the Creators Update we're also adding new actions and insights in Windows Defender Advanced Threat Protection (ATP) to investigate and respond to network attacks, including sensors in memory, enriched intelligence and new remediation actions," wrote Lefferts in a blog post.

Windows Defender Advanced Threat Protection will be able to sniff out memory and kernel-level threats. Supplementing Microsoft's own threat intelligence and that of partners like FireEye, Creators Update will enable organizations to contribute their own intelligence to Windows Security Center, allowing businesses to tailor the system's machine learning-based malware detection capabilities to their unique environments, Lefferts said.

Creators Update will also include new Windows Defender Advanced Threat Protection remediation actions. With a single click, IT personnel will be able to isolate infected Windows systems, collect forensics, and block or quarantine suspect files.

Separately, Intel today announced that the chipmaker is doing its part to improve Windows security and combat the problem of weak passwords. The company's Intel Security division unveiled a new Microsoft Edge extension for its True Key password manager that uses the Windows Hello biometric login technology to provide multifactor authentication capabilities when users log into their online accounts.

"The password problem won't disappear overnight, which is why working with Windows Hello is a big step in the shared vision between Intel Security and Microsoft of a password-free future,” said Richard Reiner, CTO of True Key by Intel Security, in a Dec. 7 announcement.

"By providing True Key app users with enhanced multi-factor protection and support for dynamic web form-filling—we continue to build an application that will encourage better password management and online security."

In terms of Windows management, Creators Update will feature additions to the Windows Analytics dashboard that report on device health and other metrics using an organization's own telemetry data.

A new in-place UEFI (Unified Extensible Firmware Interface) conversion capability will remove many of the manual steps of updating Windows 7 systems using traditional BIOS on UEFI-enabled hardware to Windows 10.

Finally, the update will include mobile application management features, allowing organizations to protect business data on personal devices without enrolling them in a mobile device management platform.

Pedro Hernandez

Pedro Hernandez

Pedro Hernandez is a contributor to eWEEK and the IT Business Edge Network, the network for technology professionals. Previously, he served as a managing editor for the network of...