MICROSOFT HAS UNVEILED a host of security features in its upcoming Windows 10 operating system in a bid to lure enterprise users into upgrading when it's released.
One of the major updates is to two-factor authentication, which Redmond says will provide more robust security than traditional single passwords that make more recent iterations of Windows vulnerable to data theft.
Microsoft seems to think that enhanced security should be a key focus for the new OS, as such issues are "central to many of the customer conversations" the firm has had since announcing the availability of the Windows 10 Technical Preview.
"We believe this solution brings identity protection to a new level as it takes multi-factor security, which today is limited to solutions such as smartcards, and builds it right into the operating system and device itself, eliminating the need for additional hardware security peripherals," said Microsoft's head of Windows enterprise programme management, Jim Alkove.
Windows 10 users will be able to "enrol" devices as one of the two authentication factors, the other being a Pin or biometric input such as a fingerprint.
This means that an attacker would need a user's physical device, in addition to the user's credentials, which would require access to the user's Pin or biometric information.
"Users will be able to enrol each of their devices with these new credentials, or they can enrol a single device, such as a mobile phone, which will effectively become their mobile credential," explained Alkove.
"It will enable them to sign-in to all of their PCs, networks and web services as long as their mobile phone is nearby.
"In this case, the phone, using Bluetooth or Wi-Fi communication, will behave like a remote smartcard and will offer two-factor authentication for local sign-in and remote access."
The user credential security system will be supported by Microsoft's Azure Active Directory as well as consumer Microsoft accounts, allowing enterprises and consumers to begin moving away from passwords.
The Technical Preview of Windows 10 became available to download on 2 October. This allows testers to sign up for Microsoft's Windows Insider programme as the company moves from internal previews to an open invitation saying: 'Join us as we build Windows 10.'
The new OS, which was announced in September, will be a converged platform across all devices from Windows Phone to Azure, building on Microsoft's announcement of Universal Apps earlier this year at the firm's Build conference. µ
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