Since I have spent far too much time blathering on at this blog about technology that I know very little about, I’d say it’s high time we provide an expert opinion. To that end, we are very pleased to have the following guest post, on security upgrades for Windows 7, from Daryl Rinaldi. Daryl is the Owner of GizmoFish, LLC, an IT support company serving the greater Boston area, and handling the IT needs of several law firms. To learn more about GizmoFish’s services, click here. For useful tips and tricks respecting technology, visit GizmoFish’s GizmoBlog. For questions respecting Daryl’s below post, he has been crazy (like a fox?) enough to provide his direct contact information, for follow-up questions, and as follows:
Email: firstname.lastname@example.org/Phone: (866) MY-GIZMO ext. 4
. . .
You may have heard of, and may have some vague notions about, improved security within Microsoft Windows 7. From the perspective of the owner of an IT support company, which is responsible for the security of clients’ networks, the question is an important one, and one that I am asked frequently. Fortunately, the short answer is that, ’yes’, there are significant security improvements that have accompanied Windows 7; the long answer requires the addressing of a few more details, so that you may understand exactly what Windows 7 brings to the table in the form of security improvements:
More Secure, More Easily
Windows 7 has many security enhancements that not only improve security, but also make enhanced security easier to manage, and so, easier to live with:
(1) Internet Explorer 8, in Windows 7 (and also available in XP and above; Internet Explorer 9 has been released in beta), has several new features to make web browsing safer, as follows:
–InPrivate Browsing allows you to surf the web without leaving a trail in Internet Explorer, so that others can’t see where you’ve been surfing;
-The SmartScreen filter protects users against evolving web and social engineering threats by automatically blocking access to malicious websites;
–XSS Filter is IE8’s cross-site scripting filter, and protects you against a certain type of malicious website content that has become one of the leading online threats; and,
–Domain Highlighting clearly shows the root domain of any website that you are visiting, so you can quickly and easily tell whether you are on a phony phishing site set up to look like a legitimate site, like PayPal’s, or eBay’s, or Bank of America’s.
(2) Windows Vista introduced BitLocker Drive Encryption. Some versions of Windows 7 have an enhanced version of BitLocker that enables you to easily encrypt portable storage devices like USB flash drives and external harddrives.
(3) Windows Defender protects against spyware, and is now built in to Windows 7. Plus, Microsoft Security Essentials, which is a full-featured anti-malware program that protects against viruses, spyware, worms, Trojan horses, and etc., is available as a free download. Windows 7 also features an improved Windows Firewall.
(4) Windows 7 offers better User Access Controls over security. You can, for example, adjust how often your computer interrupts you to warn of changes to the system. Windows 7 also makes it easier for users to run security-related tasks as non-administrators without hindering their ability to accomplish tasks on the PC.
(5) Windows 7 has improved Backup and Restore Capabilities. In addition to a user-friendly interface, the Windows 7 backup and restore tool allows you to create complete system image backups, so that you can restore your entire PC in the event of a catastrophic system crash.
There are other security enhancements in Windows 7 that help to justify an upgrade; but, for now, I’ll leave you with these. I think you’ll agree that Microsoft Windows 7 really does provide better security, while being less intrusive about it than previous versions of Windows.