A white paper: Windows 8’s Security Features

[NOTE: For the latest information about compatibility between ESET’s software and Windows 8, please see the following blog post: W8ing for V6: What ESET has in store for Windows 8 Users. (10/23/2012, 4:15PM)]

Windows 8 will be available to the public in three weeks, and interest in the latest version of Microsoft’s flagship operating system by consumers, businesses and the media remains high. At ESET, our primary focus has been on updating our security software to be compatible with this new version of Windows, but we have also been examining Windows 8’s security features in depth.

It would be impossible for us to go over all of Windows 8’s security features in a paper of the typical length we write at ESET, so we have chosen to focus on the following areas based on the interest we have seen from our customers and in the security community:

  • Windows Defender
  • the Unified Extensible Firmware Interface (UEFI) and Secure Boot
  • Early Launch Anti Malware (ELAM)
  • potential attacks on Windows 8

In addition to all of the above, we also make use of some educated guesswork to determine the likelihood for success or failure for Windows 8.

The paper can be found in the White Papers section of ESET’s web site:   Windows 8: FUD* For Thought.


Aryeh Goretsky, MVP, ZCSE
Distinguished Researcher

Are you planning on buying a computer with Windows 8 when they become available?   Or perhaps you are already running it.   Please let us know what you think about the security of this new version of Windows, below, as well as any questions you might have about the white paper.

Author Aryeh Goretsky, ESET

  • Matjaz M

    Thanks for that, great read!

  • Linux user

    Linux user here. I want secure boot to be illeagl

    • Aryeh Goretsky

      Hello Linux User,

      Given that the majority of operating system vendors in the UEFI forum are Linux vendors, that’s probably not going to happen. Thanks for your feedback!


      Aryeh Goretsky

  • Jay Pfoutz

    I wrote a blog a few weeks ago on Windows 8 Security features. I must say that it is extraordinary that the UEFI is getting so much attention.
    AppContainer is going to be a challenge I think, and I hope it goes well!
    Please kindly reference my blog here for second opinion:

    • Aryeh Goretsky

      Hello Jay,

      Thanks for letting us know about your blog post. Our own blog installation strips out any URLs as a precaution, but I was able to find a link by searching on your name and the subject. Currently, the AppContainer model seems most applicable to Modern Windows 8 (formerly Metro-style) applications. There’s a nice write-up on it here on Microsoft’s IEInternals blog, which covers the network and browser-centric features.


      Aryeh Goretsky

  • Richard Schwartz

    ESET, you mentioned that ESET NOD32 Version 5 is compatible with Windows 8 RTM but not yet certified for Windows 8 RTM. When does ESET expect to certify ESET NOD32 Version 5 for Windows 8 RTM. I have already registered for the Windows 8 OS upgrade for my PC but I want to be certain before my decision to upgrade that ESET NOD32 Version 5 is certified for Windows 8 RTM. Can you provide any information on my concern? 

    • Aryeh Goretsky

      Hello Richard,

      Testing of ESET’s software for certification with Windows 8 is ongoing and I do not have a date for when the software will be certified, since part of that depends on factors outside of ESET’s control. That said, we do expect to have more information to share with you about compatibility soon in the blog.


      Aryeh Goretsky

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