Cyber-Security With
Windows 10

Why Windows 10 Can Help to Beat Cyber Attacks

  • Anton Neidel
  • Managed Security
  • Windows 10, IT-Security, Cyber-Attacks, Cyber-Security

WannaCry may be history. But watch out: It’s far from over! More than 300,000 new viruses, trojans and worms swarm onto the market every day. The first WannaCry variants are already in circulation! Anton Neidel shows helpful it is to use Windows 10 to stay suitably protected against future cyberattacks.

WannaCry Flashback: What Exactly Happened and which Systems were Affected?

The WannaCry virus encrypts complete operating systems. Only by paying a ransom is it possible to regain control of the system. The ability of the virus to spread autonomously through networks is particularly malicious. Critical infrastructures like hospitals, rail transport operators and telecommunications companies are among the industries affected.

Current findings indicate that the virus infects the following operating systems:

  • Windows XP
  • Windows 7
  • Windows 8
  • Windows Server 2003
  • Windows Server 2008 – R2
  • Windows Server 2012

Case-by-case checks are needed to determine whether Windows 10 systems are also vulnerable.

But how can I protect myself and what do I need? First up you need to install the latest updates! Okay, fine, but what about viruses that haven’t been released yet? Over 300,000 new viruses, trojans and worms swarm onto the market every day. Obviously the anti-virus vendors are unable to detect them all. Many of them don’t even want to be found, and remain tucked away in their host systems, just waiting to release chaos. Zero day exploits send their regards. That’s what the WannaCry virus was all about. But how did it happen? Here’s a timeline:

WannaCry Timeline
WannaCry timeline, source: SoftwareONE

I clear to see how quickly Microsoft reacted, releasing zero day patches as early as April. The company even patched unsupported legacy platforms like Windows XP.

It’s not Over Yet! Windows 10 Can Help

The first variants of WannaCry are already in circulation. Other zero day exploits have appeared. So how can I protect myself in future? My advice: use Windows 10! Indeed, known cases in which WannaCry infected Windows 10 systems are thin on the ground. Let’s take a closer look at the situation in the following.

Aspect #1: Windows-as-a-Service

In the past, operating systems like Windows XP, Windows 7 or 8 simply received maintenance updates. The new features only cropped up with a new version of Windows. This has been turned on its head with Windows 10.

Security thorugh Windows as a service
Windows-as-a-Service, source: SoftwareONE

Windows-as-a-Service means that by buying Windows 10 Home, Pro or Enterprise E3 or E5, you also acquire a service that guarantees an up-to-date system. Here an example: When a new security feature to counter a particular threat is released, I can be certain that I will receive it for my Windows 10 operating system with the next feature update. This continuous system improvement helps implement shorter release cycles, making Windows 10 significantly more stable than legacy systems. This procedure has been standard practice on the smartphone market for ages.

Aspect #2: Windows 10 is the First Windows System Built for Security

Yes, you read correctly. Wagging tongues have even alleged that it took Microsoft until Windows 10 to understand just how crucial security actually is. Here a comparison with Windows 7:

Windows 10: First system built for security
Windows 10 (white) vs. Windows 7 (blue) Security, source: SoftwareONE

E3, E5 -> Windows 10 Enterprise features with software assurance

It’s plain to see that Windows 10 is quite an improvement. From a mature anti-virus system and multi-factor authentication, through to forensic cyber-crime analysis. Here a brief summary of the individual features:

Device protection:

  • Virtualization Based Security
  • UEFI Secure Boot
  • Windows Trusted Boot
  • Windows Update
  • Trusted Platform Module

Threat resistance:

  • Device Guard
  • Microsoft Edge
  • Windows Defender
  • Windows Firewall
  • SmartScreen

Information protection:

  • Credential Guard
  • Windows Hello Companion Devices
  • Windows Hello
  • Device Encryption
  • Windows Information Protection
  • BitLocker Admin and Monitoring
  • BitLocker
  • BitLocker to Go

Breach detection:

  • Windows Security Management
  • Conditional Access
  • Windows Defender, Advanced Threat Protection

The Windows Defender Advanced Threat Protection (ATP) is Window’s latest game changer. This feature is currently available only in connection with Windows 10 Enterprise E5.

Conclusion: How to get started

Always remain up-to-date: Not just with your systems, but also the latest reports from the cyber security world. Subscribe to a couple of blogs about Microsoft Security, for instance the Microsoft Secure Blog. That may give you a small head start in the event of global infection. And it really is time for an upgrade to Windows 10 if you are still using legacy systems like Windows 7.

Looking for Office 365 Security Details?

We will gladly support you in connection with Windows 10 and the development of security strategies, high-availability scenarios and solutions for ransomware protection. We’ve put together all the information you need about Windows 10.

Managed Security Services
  • Monday 10 July 2017

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Anton Neidel, Guest author SoftwareONE Blog

Anton Neidel Technology Solutions Professional

Security Specialist and SoftwareONE Blog Guest Author

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