Windows 10 Anniversary Update ramps up Defender security

Microsoft has added a full biometrics-powered password manager to support website authentication

Microsoft has released the second major update of its Windows 10 PC operating system, promising improved security and Cortana integration.

With the Windows 10 Anniversary Update, the company said it had extended the Hello biometric authentication and login manager to other applications.

Ryan Asdourian, ‎Windows and Surface lead at Microsoft, said: “Hello uses the built-in camera of a PC to recognise your face for logging into the device. Now you can use Hello in Universal Windows apps.”

For example, he said, the Dropbox app can now be authenticated directly via Hello, which acts as a biometric password manager.

Microsoft’s Edge browser enables integration with Hello to extend to the web.

The firm said more than 90% of people had abandoned websites rather than locate a forgotten password because security has not been easy enough to use.

According to Microsoft, Edge is the first and only browser to support biometrics natively, when used to access sites that support Hello for authentication.

Asdourian said: “Windows Hello is your password manager, through your Microsoft account.”

For enterprises, Microsoft has also added Windows Defender Advanced Threat Protection (WDatp), which offers behavioural threat analysis.

Read more about Windows 10

The addition of WDatp puts third-party IT security products in direct competition with Windows Defender, said Asdourian. “FireEye has a similar product, but most security companies do not have post-breach security analysis,” he added.

“We try to create the most secure products but also support the third-party industry. In the enterprise, you have different products for different threats.”

The update also provides policy-driven file management, offering authentication at file level, said Asdourian.

There is also tighter integration with Cortana, Microsoft’s virtual assistant technology. “I can talk to Cortana while the screen is locked,” he added.

Cortana is also being integrated with other Microsoft tools. According to Asdourian, enterprises are looking at using PowerBI as a BI dashboard for information held in MS Office. Cortana is then being used to ask questions through PowerBI, giving users a way to access information such as references to a customer, held across different components of Microsoft Office.

Microsoft has also attempted to improve how Windows tablets and hybrid devices are used, said Asdourian.

The Windows 10 Anniversary Update introduces Smart Sticky Notes, a note-taking app, allowing users to scribble notes on their tablet device using Windows Ink. The Smart Sticky Note can read the handwritten note.

Some apps have new ink-specific features, such as using handwriting in Office, ink annotations in Microsoft Edge or drawing custom routes in Maps, said Microsoft.

Read more on Identity and access management products