With Windows Spring Update, Microsoft Pushing More Secure Login Methods

Today’s topics include the Windows 10 spring update featuring biometric security; Microsoft extending Windows Defender Advanced Threat Protection support to Windows 7 and 8.1; Deepfence premiering its container security platform; and Oracle debuting autonomous capabilities throughout its cloud platform.

With the planned release of the Windows 10 Spring Creators Update, Microsoft is moving forward with its goal to ween users off of passwords and give them other methods to log onto their computers and applications. The Spring Creators Update will also make security management more centralized on Windows computers. 

Microsoft last week announced that Windows 10 S, the lower cost student version of the desktop operating system, will support Windows Hello, the secure login system that supports biometric factors including fingerprints, an iris scan, a PIN or facial recognition to identify authorized users. Microsoft is making this change because Windows 10 S is no longer a separate version of Windows, but is rather just an operating mode for the full-featured Windows 10 edition, which already supports Windows Hello.

Users can also set up two-factor authentication using the Microsoft Authenticator, which is an app for iOS and Android phones that can generate a PIN.

Windows Defender Advanced Threat Protection, a suite of security services that helps Windows 10 systems block emerging and sophisticated attacks, is coming this summer to Windows 7 and Windows 8.1. Windows Defender ATP combines behavioral analytics, machine learning and threat intelligence collected by Microsoft's cloud services slate and Windows systems in the wild. The result is a system that can detect zero-day attacks and prevent data breaches, one of the most pressing problems businesses and consumers face today.

To help ensure that IT executives don't lose their customer data, at least due to their aging Windows 7 and 8.1 PCs, this summer Microsoft plans to extend Windows Defender ATP support, particularly its Endpoint Detection and Response functionality, to these operating systems.

A public beta test version will be available in the spring for customers wishing to evaluate how the security system works on Windows 7 and 8.1 ahead of its summer release.

On Feb. 13, startup Deepfence announced its Security as a Microservice technology for containers. The technology uses what the company refers to as a lightweight sidecar container to run alongside an organization's existing Docker and Kubernetes containers. Deepfence's technology uses artificial intelligence and policy-driven rules to detect potential threats and enforce workload isolation.

Deepfence co-founder and CEO Sandeep Lahane said, "We've developed a Security-as-a-Microservice solution. Container security is not just about isolation; it's about detection, remediation and protection."

Among the things that Deepfence can monitor are file system changes and system processes. The sidecar container can also be configured to capture varying amounts of network data packets.

Oracle President of Product Development Thomas Kurian on Feb. 12 demonstrated the latest advances in Oracle Cloud Platform at the CloudWorld conference in New York City. The company has expanded its Oracle Cloud Platform Autonomous Services beyond the Oracle Autonomous Database, introduced last October, in order to make all Oracle Cloud Platform services self-driving, self-securing and autonomic.

Oracle is applying AI and machine learning to its entire next-generation Cloud Platform services to help customers lower cost, reduce risk, accelerate innovation and get predictive insights.

Multiple autonomous database services will become available in the next 12 months, including Oracle Autonomous Data Warehouse Cloud Service for analytics, Autonomous Database OLTP for transactional and mixed workloads and Autonomous NoSQL Database for fast, massive-scale reads and writes.