Microsoft’s Mandy Tidwell took to the company’s blog this week to ensure governments that Windows 10 has the best security to thwart hackers. Tidwell says that security was a prime focus as Microsoft developed Windows 10, which was released last summer. The platform promises to protect governments from the growing rise of attacks better than previous Windows releases with several built-in features.
For starters, Windows 10 offers Microsoft Passport. This service is a two-factor authentication process that combines a registered device with a user’s PIN number, fingerprint, iris, or facial features. Thanks to this, attackers will have a hard time breaking into a government employee’s account because they need that physical information. This also prevents employees from using a username and password, the latter of which is usually identical to other passwords employees utilize on external non-government sites.
Another Windows 10 service that helps keep governments safe is a new security virtualization feature called Credential Guard, which separates credential identification information from the operating system. Thus, if malware does find its way on the Windows 10 device, the isolated information is extremely hard to reach. Backing up this service is Device Guard, which will lock down a device so that users can only run apps that are pre-authorized by the government agency.
Finally, Tidwell points to the built-in Windows Defender client. It’s an entirely new version of the company’s malware scanner that runs quietly in the Windows 10 background. Windows Defender will scan all files that are downloaded and executed, automatically and in real time. The client also downloads and installs antivirus updates without the user’s involvement and without the need to reboot the device.
“As the number and intensity of cyberattacks increase, cybersecurity has become a major focus for governments around the world,” Tidwell says. “Over the past few years, governments at all levels have been stepping up their protections, yet the threats continue to mount. Windows 10 has been designed to address security threats in a world of escalating risks.”
The blog update arrives just days after a Bloomberg report surfaced stating that Russia is threatening to ditch the Windows platform in government institutions and move to the open-source Linux platform. According to the report, 22,000 municipal governments are already prepared to make the switch. Why? There are claims that Microsoft could easily provide the U.S. government with secret information stolen from Windows-based Russian computers.
Russia isn’t the only country wanting to kick Windows to the curb. China banned the use of Windows 8 on its government computers back in 2014. The country supposedly stopped using the platform to “ensure computer security” because Microsoft ended support on Windows XP, which was highly popular in China. Microsoft said it was surprised by the move given it was working “proactively” with China’s Central Government Procurement Center and its other government agencies.
Tidwell says in the Microsoft blog that Windows 10 is the company’s best platform yet. As of January, Windows 10 finally passed Windows XP in regards to the desktop operating system market, earning a 11.85% market share compared to Windows XP’s 11.42% share. However, the new platform has yet to come close to Windows 7, which still holds 52.47% of the market despite the current free Windows 10 upgrade.