Black Hat: Microsoft brings fingerprint sensors to Windows 8.1

  • Tweet  
  • LinkedIn  
  • Facebook  
  • Google plus  
  • Send to Kindle
  • Send to  
fingerprint-pa

LAS VEGAS: Microsoft's upcoming launch of Windows 8.1 is set to include a host of features designed to simplify authentication and data protection, the company said.

Speaking with V3 at the 2013 Black Hat conference, Microsoft Windows security and identity group programme manager Dustin Ingalls said that the company would be investing in both its in-house security tools as well as the options the company provides to third-party security vendors for managing and securing applications.

Among the new features will be an update to Internet Explorer which will allow anti-malware applications to load prior to any Active-X components in the browser's boot process. By having the ability to load early, the security tools will be able to spot and block potential threats from malicious ActiveX controls.

Also featuring in the 8.1 release will be Selective Wipe, a remote management component which will allow administrators to revoke encryption keys on specific files and remotely revoke the keys to block access when a device is lost or a user leaves a company.

Ingalls said that with consumerisation increasingly bringing personal tablets and PCs into the office, a conventional wipe tool that deletes all data on a device is no longer practical.

“If you wipe a whole phone today the worst you lose is a couple of text messages or some photos,” he said.

“You can't go wiping somebody's personal PC, you could find yourself in the middle of a nasty lawsuit or all sorts of other things.”

Perhaps the feature Microsoft is most proud of, however, is a leap forward in support for biometric authorisation. Once the domain of clumsy and unreliable swipe scanners, Microsoft has improved biometrics support and is working with hardware vendors on a new generation of sensors which will be able to authorise a user with a simple press of a fingerprint to a sensor embedded in a keyboard, notebook casing or tablet bezel.

Ingalls believes that with passwords no longer proving a practical measure and elaborate two-factor authentication schemes frustrating users, the time has come for a new generation of intelligent and precise biometric scanners.

This is going to be a big deal. When even Twitter has to release a two-factor authentication passwords are reaching the end of their road,” he said.

[Two-factor] might be more secure than just a password, but they are definitely not more usable, and that is why users won't use them.”

  • Tweet  
  • LinkedIn  
  • Facebook  
  • Google plus  
  • Send to Kindle
  • Send to  
Visitor comments
Add comments
blog comments powered by Disqus
More on Security
Five arrested for using Remote Access Trojan software to infect computers

UK cyber cops arrest five for Remote Access Trojan scam

Arrests take place in Leeds, Kent and Darlington

FTC Logo

FTC shuts down tech support scam firms that raked in $120m

Temporary closure of $120m fraudulent operations

Cloud storage in the cloud

IBM launches dedicated Bluemix instance for building secure apps

Customers can access a single tenant version of the cloud DevOps platform for apps using sensitive data

Google Android Malware

Android Encrypted NotCompatible malware caught infiltrating company systems

Researchers warn evolved self-protecting variant is more elusive and dangerous