Experts Tout Increased Security of Windows 7

Dennis Faas's picture

With the release of Windows 7 just a few months away, security experts have begun touting the widespread positive impact Windows 7 will have on PC protection and the online community.

Despite the occasional outbreak of critical security patches, Microsoft has been able to steadily improve its security image since launching the Trusted Computing initiative more than five years ago. (Source:

Win7 to Help Strengthen Security

Purewire Principal Researcher Paul Royal touted three specific Windows 7 modifications that he believes will help thwart application vulnerabilities, rootkits and other cutting-edge malware attacks.

Royal notes that application vulnerabilities will be harder to turn into working exploits. Windows memory protections such as DEP (Data Execution Protection) and ASLR (Address Space Layout Randomization) that have been around for years are now being used by ubiquitous applications including as Internet Explorer 8 and Firefox 3, making it much more difficult to exploit potential vulnerabilities.

It is suggested that hackers will have to shift technical attacks (those targeting the web browser or its plug-ins) to those that are social in nature (such as rogue anti-virus programs).

Hardware-assisted rootkits will also be difficult to deploy. The implementation of Windows XP Mode (XPM) uses hardware virtualization extensions and will make rootkit installation considerably more complex. A rootkit would need to overcome significant technical hurdles to avoid crashing the operating system or alerting the user. (Source:

Win7 Expected to Benefit End Users and Security Pros

Malware will have to evade next-generation analysis of the behavior of malicious software through hardware-assisted virtualization extensions in the implementation of XPM.

It's important to remember that XPM will only be available on certain versions of Windows 7, but according to Royal, Windows 7 looks to be an all-around win for security and its adoption is expected to benefit end users and security professionals. (Source;

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