Windows 8 will ship with a number of small but important security tweaks Microsoft hopes will make it a harder target for the viruses, worms, and Trojans that were able to subvert older versions of the operating system.

Most of the security features mentioned by Windows president Steven Sinofsky at last week's Build conference extend design features that appeared in Vista and Windows 7 and have gradually been added through updates.

These include address space layout randomization (ASLR), which will be used more extensively in Windows 8, as will a new feature that protects the core of the OS from what are called "kernel-mode null dereference vulnerability," basically a way for an attacker to elevate privileges once on the system. Windows 8 will also make extensive use of memory heap randomisaiton, another technique tried on Windows 7, which makes it difficult for malware programmers to overrun the space given to an application for malicious purposes.

Probably the biggest security addition is Windows 8's support for UEFI 2.3.1 secured boot technology (which requires BIOS support), which stops early-booting malware from interfering with antivirus products before they load into memory.

Full story: InfoWorld