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Microsoft: We’ll beef up security, admin tools in Windows 10 Creators Edition Fall Update

The next big update to Windows 10 Creators Edition is out in the Fall1 and Redmond is hyping up its security chops and admin tools. For a start, we’re told Windows Defender will be extended from client to Microsoft’s server operating systems . In addition, Redmond is adding Windows Defender Exploit Guard and Application Guard to the security suite and updating its Device Guard and Defender Antivirus software. Exploit Guard is basically Microsoft’s Enhanced Mitigation Experience Toolkit (EMET) security software reworked for the new operating system . Last year Microsoft was forecasting the death of EMET, but now it appears it has listened to advice from its users2 and security experts3 that the code should be retained.

“We love EMET so much we built it fully into Windows 10,” Rob Lefferts, director of the Windows and Devices Group, told The Register. “Everything you could do with EMET you can do with Exploit Guard.”

Exploit Guard will come with new rules designed to detect unauthorized system access, and will take advice from Microsoft’s security center in real time . Redmond even says it will protect against zero day exploits. Application Guard is designed to work with the browser to detect whether local users have downloaded or installed code that they shouldn’t . The new code will lock any infection onto a local machine to stop it spreading, and notify the security team that something has gone seriously amiss.

Device Guard is getting an upgrade and uses whitelisting to keep dodgy software off PCs . Lefferts said that Microsoft is working with developers to constantly update the whitelists and ensure that legitimate code will run without a problem. On the pure antivirus side, IT admins running Defender will get a new security analytics screen that will use data from all Microsoft customers to advise on potential or incoming threats . APIs will also be released so third-party app vendors can use the same information to secure their apps.

Autopilot for Admins

Also new in the update is a suite called Windows Autopilot, which is a set of custom tools for IT admins designed to make their lives easier. In addition to the new security features, Microsoft is augmenting the Autopilot computer setup program that works with Azure and Intune to configure enterprise PC farms . A new Autopilot Reset function lets admins wipe a PC for example if someone leaves the company without wiping out all the settings, just the non-essential local content. Redmond will also begin putting out updates for its mobile device management suite to allow better integration with Windows 10 . The tools will now give regular update progress reports to IT controllers and will add support for Active Directory domain-joined devices .

There’s also support for configuring and locking down kiosks running Windows. A new update to the Windows Analytics package include a category known as Device Health . This scans the PCs on a network, noting bad configurations or missing updates and alerting staff.

Sponsored: How Artificial Intelligence Will Secure the 21st Century4

References

  1. ^ in the Fall (www.theregister.co.uk)
  2. ^ its users (www.theregister.co.uk)
  3. ^ security experts (www.theregister.co.uk)
  4. ^ How Artificial Intelligence Will Secure the 21st Century (go.theregister.com)

Microsoft: We’ll beef up security in Windows 10 Creators Edition Fall Update

The next big update to Windows 10 Creators Edition is out in the Fall1 and Redmond is hyping up its security chops. For a start, we’re told Windows Defender will be extended from client to Microsoft’s server operating systems . In addition, Redmond is adding Windows Defender Exploit Guard and Application Guard to the security suite and updating its Device Guard and Defender Antivirus software. Exploit Guard is basically Microsoft’s Enhanced Mitigation Experience Toolkit (EMET) security software reworked for the new operating system . Last year Microsoft was forecasting the death of EMET, but now it appears it has listened to advice from its users2 and security experts3 that the code should be retained.

“We love EMET so much we built it fully into Windows 10,” Rob Lefferts, director of the Windows and Devices Group, told The Register. “Everything you could do with EMET you can do with Exploit Guard.”

Exploit Guard will come with new rules designed to detect unauthorized system access, and will take advice from Microsoft’s security center in real time . Redmond even says it will protect against zero day exploits. Application Guard is designed to work with the browser to detect whether local users have downloaded or installed code that they shouldn’t . The new code will lock any infection onto a local machine to stop it spreading, and notify the security team that something has gone seriously amiss.

Device Guard is getting an upgrade and uses whitelisting to keep dodgy software off PCs . Lefferts said that Microsoft is working with developers to constantly update the whitelists and ensure that legitimate code will run without a problem. On the pure antivirus side, IT admins running Defender will get a new security analytics screen that will use data from all Microsoft customers to advise on potential or incoming threats . APIs will also be released so third-party app vendors can use the same information to secure their apps.

Sponsored: Advanced Threat Prevention .

Visit The Register’s Endpoint Security Hub4

References

  1. ^ in the Fall (www.theregister.co.uk)
  2. ^ its users (www.theregister.co.uk)
  3. ^ security experts (www.theregister.co.uk)
  4. ^ Advanced Threat Prevention .

    Visit The Register’s Endpoint Security Hub (go.theregister.com)

Virgin Media router security flap follows weak password expose

Virgin Media has urged 800,000 customers to change their passwords to guard against possible hacking attack. The move follows an investigation1 by consumer mag Which? that discovered hackers could access the provider’s Super Hub 2 router, allowing access to IoT devices connected through the same home network . The issue stems from shortcomings in the default password Virgin Media prints on its routers than a recently discovered security vulnerability in routers it supplies2. Virgin Media stickered default router password is constrained to certain characters, lowering password entropy in the process and making it easier for hackers to mount successful brute force attacks.

“It appears to be that the default Wi-fi PSK is too short .

8 char a-z . Not exactly a new story though,” Pen Test Partners’ Ken Munro told3 El Reg. “It seems unfair for Which to finger just Virgin, as most ISPs have had weak default PSKs at some point,” he added.

Virgin Media pointed El Reg towards a customer forum post on the issue, adding: “I can reassure you the threat to our security is minimal”. David Emm, principal security researcher, Kaspersky Lab, said: “Cybercriminals routinely make use of vulnerabilities, and the case of Virgin Media s Super Hub 2 router highlights the fact that there are more connected devices than ever before, and therefore, more potential vulnerable devices that can be compromised.”

The issue highlights wider concerns about consumer router security, which has been a problem for years – long before the rise of the infamous Mirai botnet4 late last year prompted more ISPs to sit up and finally take notice . Mirai spread thanks to a mixture of open ports and weak default passwords . In some cases, simply changing passwords wasn’t enough and a firmware update would be needed.

Matthias Maier, security evangelist at Splunk, said: “Organisations that provide internet connected devices to consumers need to think carefully about how they will overcome the security challenge that will inevitably come with the devices they produce . Suppliers need to think about the responsibility they have for owning the maintenance of a device for its full lifecycle .

They need to introduce monitoring for flaws and ensure over-the-air (OTA) updates are available so that their customers are better protected.”

Sponsored: How Artificial Intelligence Will Secure the 21st Century5

References

  1. ^ investigation (www.which.co.uk)
  2. ^ security vulnerability in routers it supplies (www.theregister.co.uk)
  3. ^ told (twitter.com)
  4. ^ Mirai botnet (www.theregister.co.uk)
  5. ^ How Artificial Intelligence Will Secure the 21st Century (go.theregister.com)