Windows 8.1 Client Security Features

Kathleen Molosky 2013

Kathleen Molosky


With the upcoming availability of Windows 8.1 you will start receiving questions from your customers as to what is new with Windows 8.1.  One of the areas normally of focus for your customers is security.  They want to make sure their information is safe once they move to the next OS version.    Let’s take a moment to review some of the security features either new or enhanced with Windows 8.1.

Drive Encryption – With 8.1 at x86/x64 device domain-join  or Microsoft administrative privileges login encryption for the main OS drives and fixed data drives will be included and turned on by default.

Assigned Access formally known as kiosk mode which locks the device down to a single application for access by a standard user.  To disable the setting you simple press the Windows logo key 5 times. 

Fingerprint log-in – Windows 8.1 includes a fingerprint registration application,  The fingerprint option will be visible under PC SettingsAccounts Sign-in Options when there is a WBF-supported fingerprint reader and required driver installed on the PC.  Biometrics functionality can be disabled via Group Policy if so desired.

Virtual Smartcard Support – One of my favorite features.  Microsoft has taken advantage of multifactor authentication for many years now as is the case with many security conscious companies.  With virtual smartcard support I don’t have to involve my physical smartcard each time I wish to log in.  In addition, the majority of devices today do not have an integrated smartcard reader so it eliminates the need to carry around a physical smartcard reader as well.  While virtual smartcards were supported with Windows 8 the enrollment process has been simplified via the addition of APIs in 8.1.

Malware Resistance - Windows Defender includes network behavior monitoring to help detect and stop the execution of known and unknown malware. Internet Explorer will scan binary extensions (e.g. ActiveX) using the antimalware solution before potentially harmful code is executed.

For more information about Windows 8.1 security as well as all the great new features enhancements delivered with Windows 8.1 see What’s New in Windows 8.1.


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