New Windows Update Eliminates Passwords, Increases Speed

Computer Security Engineers

Microsoft is moving one step closer to eliminating passwords. Users who are updated to the new Windows 1903 will be able to log in to devices, apps, and services using biometrics rather than passwords. This means users will be able to login with facial recognition and fingerprint sensors, granting them access to programs like Outlook, Skype, Xbox Live on PC, and many more. Windows Hello has earned the company FIDO2 certification, an industry standard that deems Windows Hello a secure authenticator.

A promise Microsoft has kept for its 1903 update is speed improvement, thanks to better Spectre fixes. Spectre is a design flaw is CPUs. It allows programs to escape their restrictions and read other programs memory spaces. Microsoft has previously blocked Spectre attacks, but the resulting patches reduced a PC’s performance, especially on PCs from 2015 or earlier. This new update will be eliminating those performance issues. For a more detailed explanation on how these optimizations work, check out the following link: https://techcommunity.microsoft.com/t5/Windows-Kernel-Internals/Mitigating-Spectre-variant-2-with-Retpoline-on-Windows/ba-p/295618.

An additional feature included in Window’s 1903 update is Windows Sandbox. Windows Sandbox is an integrated, isolated desktop environment, where a user can run software in a container without affecting his host operating system. When a user closes out of the sandbox, all the software and files that were in the sandbox will be deleted. Windows uses hardware-based virtualization to keep the software confined to a container. Keep in mind that Sandbox is only going to be available on Professional, Enterprise, and Education editions of Windows, so Windows Home users will have to pay to upgrade from Home to Pro if they want to use this new feature.

There are plenty of other smaller features promised in this update as well. Some of these are a light desktop theme, a less cluttered start menu, the ability to uninstall more built in apps, and separation between Cortana and the search bar. The Windows 1903 update is expected to be released at the end of May.