Windows Defender Exploit Guard Will Succeed Microsoft EMET

I explained about Microsoft EMET which is really cool tool against 0-days. It doesn’t completely protect you against all threats but it makes your system stronger and you have better protection against exploit. Whenever I visit any user or I want to check any system, I also add Microsoft EMET into it. Last year, we heard a news that Microsoft EMET is going to be discontinued. But I would like to announce good news that Microsoft EMET will be succeed with Windows Defender Exploit Guard. This is feature will be available in upcoming version of Windows 10 and it will be build into Windows, so you don’t need to install it and it will have more features and functionalities.

I am strongly asked you to prepare to upgrade your Windows 10 devices to the latest build and you will get better advantage against 0-days and better control over application security. So, if a developer wasn’t following best practices to secure the application, we could add some restriction that application and makes it harder for hackers and cybercriminals to gain access to our system. You may read more about this new feature on here.

 

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Goodbye Windows Vista!

Support for Windows Vista has ended on April 11, 2017. It means, you won’t get any update or support for Windows Vista and if there is new vulnerability or security weakness for Windows Vista, you won’t get fix for it, in the other world security researchers and Microsoft security team won’t spend much time to do research on securing Windows Vista. Windows Vista succeed Windows XP, during those times, Windows XP has been blamed for security weaknesses and high number of malware infection. Windows Vista open up new door for security and new operating system introduced with new and powerful security concepts out of the box. Such as introducing two ways firewall (Windows XP was one-way firewall) and with advance and user friendly setting. Bitlocker introduced in the time of Windows Vista and it helped IT professionals and users encrypt their entire hard drive easily. User Account Control (UAC) also introduced in Windows Vista where it requests for permission whenever user tries to perform administrative tasks. In general, there were several improvements in area of security for Windows Vista. Some users blame Windows Vista, because new security features weren’t very friendly for them. In Windows 7, security enhanced and become friendlier and for this reason, many people upgraded to Windows 7. In Windows 8, security enhanced and Anti-Malware software build into the operating system and this improvement continues in Windows 10 and Windows keep improving in each version and new build and releases.

In case you are using Windows Vista, it is better to upgrade to supported version of Windows, take a look at Windows Vista end of support. It is recommended to upgrade to Windows 10 which is the latest version of Windows and there are several new security features there. When you upgrade from Windows Vista to Windows 10, you need to reinstall your application and in some case, you might need hardware upgrade. However, you must upgrade to supported version of Windows unless, it is just matter of time before new vulnerability discover in the public and cause damage in your system. If you are using Windows Vista, make a wise choice and upgrade today.

 

Why Shouldn’t We Trust Linux on Security?

There are people who think Unix-like operating systems like Linux is safer and more secure compare to Linux. They claim because Linux is open source we could see the source code of it and because it is community driven, then everyone would see and find error and bugs especially security bugs and fix them. Here you will see all these arguments are wrong and Linux is just like scarecrow, where normal people see it like scary and secure from far but security experts will get near and touch it and then it fell down and they will see there is actually nothing there. Firstly, being open source pose more risks, because we don’t have any control about who has access to the source code. Opposite to close-source operating system where people has full control over who has access and why they want to access the source code , in addition, media and external security experts more interested in finding security issues in closed-source operating systems , because they could find story and tarnish reputation of the company, while in open source like Linux, even if hackers take over everything they just write a simple story and no one taking blame and they just say it is community and open to everyone. Support in Linux is also nightmare, the only company who actually doing some support about Linux security is RedHat and in most of the time you should go over forums for hours and hours to figure out which script would solve your issue. It is dangerous especially when your systems are under attacks and immediately you need to close ports, enhance firewall security level, perform some malware scan and while in Windows you could do it with few clicks and very fast, in Linux, you need spend hours to figure out what script you have to write and while you are looking for solution hacker did what they supposed to do. In addition, company like Microsoft, they have full time engineers and team to develop code and fix issues, they are getting paid and they went through security screening and they full time job is to protect Windows and consumers. While in Linux, they never get paid and they just get some money through donation, so they don’t have any duty to fix problems and if they do, they do it for favor and there are many times, when we came across security vulnerabilities and they just say, fix it yourself and share with us. In addition, several attack scenarios which has been fixed in Windows, already exist in Linux. Because it is free, they don’t care much about getting their codes sign and you will face with an OS with several unsigned and unverified codes which bad guys could just replace then whenever they want. There are many cases where an attacker fool users to get a script to fix some issues and inside it hides some malicious activities which result on hacking the server. We could secure Linux, if we pay a lot and develop several applications or enhance already existing security products for Linux, but still it won’t become as secure as Windows. Therefore, if you are wise administrator, instead of putting scarecrow to scare some hackers away, think about a platform which is fundamentally strong like Windows and invest on enhance security on it. You just need to do threat modeling and look into scenario of attacks and then you will know why we need Windows instead of Linux, so do not trust Linux.

Windows Mobile is the Most Secure Mobile Operating System in the World

If you are having a Smart Phone, your phone is running on specific operating system. If you are using iPhone, the operating system is iOS and if you are using other phones, you might be using Android. There is another type of operating system which unfortunately not many people are using it which is Windows Mobile. You may see different Phone Manufacturers who are producing Windows Mobile especially Lumia Phone series which manufactured by Microsoft Mobile and in past it was Nokia. Technically speaking there are advantage and disadvantage of using phone running Windows Mobile, for example you have feature known as Continuum which if your Mobile Hardware support it, you could just take your phone instead of your laptop and connect it to a mouse, keyboard and monitor and use it in place of your laptop or tablet. But here security in Windows Mobile will be discussed.

In term of security, we could say Windows Mobile could consider as the most secure operating system for Mobile Device in the planet. You have good encryption technique in place, you couldn’t just root it and install and copy whatever you want. All application should be signed and usually download from Windows Store. So you couldn’t just take a phone and insert it into your PC to install malware. In addition, security in Windows Store is so high, unlike Apple’s iTunes and Android’s Google Play, which several malwares and unapproved apps have been published. In Windows Store, there wasn’t much case of malware (almost 0) and it is because of its through verification and checking of applications there. In addition, in Microsoft, there is Windows team which is responsible of developing Windows 10 and Windows 10 Mobile and they are one strong team who deal with global cyber-threats and they have better control over handling vulnerabilities.

In general Windows Mobile is secure because of its design and also process to verify applications and deploy updates. In addition, it provides a great tools like Visual Studio to develop apps for Windows Mobile and if you are software developer, you may easily adapt security mythologies like Security Development Lifecycle and make sure your code would be secure out of the box and it will be verified by experts. So if you are care about security for your phone, consider using a device running Microsoft Mobile. If you are developer, you could consider developing App for Microsoft Mobile and good news is you may develop universal App which work on Windows 10 and Windows 10 Mobile and your App would be secure out of the box. In other world, if you App is not secure, it won’t get into Store and this is how trust being built between consumer and developer by making sure they could get apps with peace of mind from Windows Store.

 

Upgrade to Windows 10 is Act for Enhancing International Cyber-Security

Free upgrade to Windows 10 and Windows 7 or Windows 8.1 is still on the way and it will be ended soon. Many people really loved the offer and enjoy upgrade and using Windows 10, while some people didn’t have a very positive experience or they upgrade to Windows 10 and revert back to Windows 7 or Windows 8.1. It is important to review why upgrading to Windows 10 is important. It is not only issue with better operating system but it is matter of security. Experience with fighting against cybercriminals, malwares, hackers and others in all over the world is the general idea behind the Windows 10 security. You are talking about operating system designers who have been fighting against cybercrime for many years in all sectors from home user to industry, government and so on. The experience show taught them how to build the next version of Windows stronger and it was the trend for each version of Windows to become stronger than previous version. Currently, Windows 10 is the strongest Windows against cyber threats. In general, I could say Windows 10 is the most secure Operating System in the planet. In addition, the new model of Windows which is Windows as a Service, enhance this security model meaning, you are receiving new builds and new security improvements will integrate into each build.

Therefore, upgrading to Windows 10 is wise decision in many areas including security. You need to have powerful weapon to fight against powerful enemies and modern hackers and Windows 10 will give you such weapons. When you upgrade to Windows 10, you have all you need to defend against hackers and of course depending on your security requirements you could enhance these features or add new protection or install new programs which enhance your security too. When we look into upgrading to Windows 10 across a country, it means users in the country would have a better protection against cyber-threats so we will see less zombies, malware infection, successful hackers there. This means better national security, because the citizen in the country are protected by default and when citizens are protected, then hackers would have difficult time to setup station there. When we look into Windows 10 upgrade in international point of view, it has high impact on international cyber security. It is very difficult to control every single user in the world to make sure they are protected against cyber threats and their PC is not target for Zombies, botnets, hackers and other cybercrime activities. However, when the have the latest protection in their system through Windows 10, they are protected against most threats out of the box. For this reason, I am asking everyone to encourage your friend to upgrade to Windows 10 and if you haven’t upgrade yet, please do so. It might seem like just another upgrade or another Windows but in reality it is positive act for better international cyber security.

 

Should I Upgrade to Windows 10?

There has been exciting offer for Windows 7 and Windows 8.1 users which is they could upgrade to Windows 10 for free for limit time. This is not a trial or expiry version which means once you upgrade and make sure your PC is activated successfully under Windows 10. You could continue to use it and reinstall it on your device later on but you must do it while offer is valid.

There are many discussion about whether should we use this offer or not. Many people enjoy the offer and upgrade to Windows 10 while some people are not happy and they return to previous version of Windows. In any case, let discuss why it is important to upgrade to Windows 10 from security perspective.

Like any new version of Windows there are many improvement in security of Windows, feature which you might not see them but they are integrated into the operating system. There are many exciting features for IT professionals like Device Guard and enhanced Group Policy setting but it is exciting for many of non-IT professionals. First interesting thing is the new policy for Windows Update which they will be download and install without bother the user. The good side of this improvement is PCs are always updates. I have seen users who are not expert so they never check their updates and some unprofessional people telling them turn off your update, it is useless and so on. With new enhancement in Windows Update, you just have to connect to internet and Windows will know what should be done. Windows Defender is built into Windows (This happened since Windows 8) but if you are using Windows 7, you don’t have to worry about what Anti-Virus you should install, you already have Windows Defender there.

There are improvement in security for your browser and if you are using Microsoft Edge or Internet Explorer, now you are protected against drive-by attacks and infected object inside safe website. To put is simple, if you use Internet Explorer or Microsoft Edge in Windows 10, you are more protected.

There is no boundary for improvement and enhancing security, it is the latest version of Windows and is the most secure operating system. One interesting point is Microsoft will look into previous vulnerabilities and attacks and try to improve the operating system in each release. In the past, this would be done by releasing Service Packs to improve overall protection of the system and then by enhancing security features in next release of Windows but now Windows is a service. Which means you get regular builds which comes with several improvements and enhancements in many areas including security. Windows Insider is also a great way to help in area of security. Many people have been asking how we could involve in improving Windows. And honestly speaking, in the past there wasn’t much channel to get involve with Windows team. But now, there is Windows Insider when people could try Windows and submit feedbacks (including the one related to security) and help to make Windows even greater.

With Windows 10, we are starting new revolution to enhance security in the world. More people are getting engage to shape up security. Windows are getting updates regularly so no more issue with out of date operating system. If you uninstall your Anti-Virus (let say it has been expired) you won’t be ask risk because Windows Defender will take over and protect you.

If you are using Windows 7 or Windows 8.1, start upgrading to Windows 10 today. If you are running older version of Windows like Windows Vista or Windows XP (which is no longer supported). It is good time to consider upgrading to Windows 10 too. Let’s all move to more secure Windows.

 

Say Hello to Windows Hello

For many years, people have been using password to login to their own devices. However, cybercriminals find ways to discover and break passwords and then people learn about creating a secure password which is a combination of number, symbol and alphabets and it is a long one about 8 and more characters which make it harder or almost impossible to break passwords. However strong password bring along some challenges. People keep forgetting their password because it is complex so they write it down somewhere and there was cases when unauthorized users gain access the password by finding the paper which contains password. In some organization the entire company used default and complex password which it makes it hard to recognize who has been login because entire company using same default but complex password. Selecting and managing password is complex challenge, you should choose a complex password to make sure nobody could guess or break it using hacking tools. You have to make sure password you won’t forget your password and you are only type it on trusted device and you have to use different passwords on different websites so if password stolen , hackers won’t be able to use the same username and password to login in other websites. The main problem with password is identity will be defined by someone who own your username and password. There is no way for a system to identify whether you are the original user or there is someone who is using your credential (Username and Password) to login on your behalf. Recently new methods have been implemented to make it easy for you to identify yourself. For example by sending temporary code to your mobile phone to identify you and let you login. In Windows 8, new method for login has been introduced to make it easier for you to login. You could login with a PIN which is a digit number, this mechanism is similar to the one you are using for your ATM using your ATM card and Picture Password when you set a picture and you chose some gestures on the photo to login. These methods make it easier for you to login because it is easier to remember PIN and Picture Password than remembering your complex alphanumeric password and it makes it easier to login to your PC. Fingerprint was also a way to login to your PC, it was recommended to use combination of fingerprint and password to login, because traditional fingerprint login wasn’t secure and in most cases, your fingerprint won’t encrypt and hackers could access it.

Things changed in Windows 10, there is a new feature known as Windows Hello which gives ability to login using your Fingerprint, Face Recognition or IRIS securely. These methods have been around for many years when you could install some third-party software to login with your face recognition using camera build in your PC. But these methods wasn’t secure as in most cases, they simply capture some image and when image match, it lets you login. There was possibilities to login just with image of the user and with some hacking methods. Windows Hello change this, you could login with Face Recognition but it could identify whether you are you or someone pretending to be you using your photo or some other hacking methods. It enhance recognition for fingerprint too. It won’t just save fingerprint as an image but it store it in a way which is more secure.

Cool thing about Windows Hello is you are protected against hackers and you don’t need to remember or write down anything. You just have to sit in front of your PC and it will recognize you. Or you need to use your finger to login. Windows Hello is as strong as password and it also could differentiate identical twins too.

However, you should remember for Windows Hello, you need specific hardware like you couldn’t use any normal camera but you need camera which support requirements for Windows Hello. If you are using old PC which camera is not supported by Windows Hello. You could buy external camera and use Windows Hello. There are new PCs on the market which already build with cameras supporting Windows Hello and more will be available soon. To check whether your hardware meets requirements for Windows Hello, just open Settings > Accounts > Sign-in options, you should be able to see Windows Hello. If not, it means your hardware is not supported or not configured to support Windows Hello. To learn more about Windows Hello, take a look at:

http://windows.microsoft.com/en-us/windows-10/getstarted-what-is-hello

http://windows.microsoft.com/en-us/windows-10/windows-hello-privacy-faq