Microsoft should restrict what apps Windows can run, analysts suggest

By: Costea Lestoc
2 minute read

Microsoft revealed a new security feature at Ignite, namely the Windows Defender Application Guard. This new addition will reach enterprise customers sometime in 2017, allowing the Edge browser to run a virtual machine when dealing with unrecognized websites. This feature will completely block malware from infecting real machines.

Also, when users leave the website, Application Guard will flush the virtual machine, so no data gets retained in the computer. John Pescatore, who works as director of New Security Trends at the SANS Institute, says that this move isn’t enough. He claims that the main concept of containerization has a security flaw in itself.

He says that the problem is what happens when the malware is running in the container, before users manage to shut it down. Moreover, he underlined the fact that Application Guard is just another way for Microsoft to say “Oh well, hopefully malware will not hurt your machine that much”. He also added that just like many other protection measures Microsoft implemented in Windows, Application Guard was just another band-aid that didn’t really solve the security issues within the operating system. The main problem here is the fact that any user can install unverified third party apps.

Apparently, users don’t really need this feature on browsers that run on Android and iOS, so the question here is why isn’t the company doing an exclusive Windows App Store. Nowadays, the entire smartphone zone is based around the app store, which makes running apps on your device easy and, more importantly, safe.

Windows Store, for instance, offers these features, but it cannot protect Windows in the same manner until Microsoft gets rid of the side problem. In a nutshell, Microsoft should restrict what Windows can run, and give up building one trench line after another.

All in all, it seems that if Microsoft does not close the gate that lets any code enter the system, the company will not achieve 100% security for its operating system.

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