Windows 8.1 – security improvements

The release of Windows 8.1 includes a host of improvements, both cosmetic (welcome back, Start button) and “under the hood” improvements. A new white paper, titled Windows 8.1 Security – New and Improved, looks at the some of the most anticipated—and controversial—security features of this new “.1″ point release of Windows 8, including:

  • Updated biometric security framework: Support for fingerprint recognition has been greatly improved, and we can expect to see fingerprint readers appearing in more Windows devices.

  • InstantGo device manageability: In combination with new hardware from Microsoft partners, this new low-power mode of operation allows for always-on, always connected device scenarios, which translates into always managed for Information Technology and Security departments.

  • Pervasive Device Encryption: If the hardware supports it, your drive(s) will be transparently encrypted by Windows 8.1. We take a look at what this means for users.

  • Windows Defender: Find out what’s new in the updated version of Microsoft’s free anti-malware program.

The white paper also takes a look at Windows 8 (and 8.1)’s adoption rate, discusses new risks introduced by Windows 8.1, and looks at whether or not IT shops and users should upgrade.

The white paper is available via We Live Security’s White Papers section (landscape formatting).

Finally, if you are still using Windows XP, you might want to check out my latest podcast.

Aryeh Goretsky, MVP, ZCSE
Distinguished Researcher


Are you planning on upgrading to Windows 8.1, or have you already done so? Are you planning on staying with Windows 8, or an even earlier version of Windows? Let us know your thoughts, below!

Author Aryeh Goretsky, ESET

  • draizd

    Ehm… I would really love to read that whitepaper. But I can’t find it. After some google’ing I found this URL but it just leads to 404:
    http://www.welivesecurity.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/11/windows-8-1-security-improvements.pdf

    Please help! :(

  • mechBgon

    Thanks for the white paper. That was easy reading and informative.

    “Are you planning on upgrading to Windows 8.1, or have you already done so?”

    Our SOHO fleet is currently on Win8 Pro for the security enhancements over Win7 (with a sanity-saving Start-menu replacement added) and I would like to upgrade them to Win8.1 Pro. These days, I would rather have the latest mitigations, even if there are some early-adopter headaches. Regarding Win8.1, one of those headaches is that our Authentec biometric software won’t install on Win8.1 in WBF mode, because it complains the Windows Biometric Framework isn’t enabled (oh the irony), and Win8.1’s native biometric software lacks the functionality we want (e.g. logging into websites with a finger swipe). Authentec won’t be helping, since they were purchased by Apple and have vanished.

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