We take a look at some of the Microsoft Edge browser security features. Microsoft launches Windows 10 with two built-in browsers: Microsoft Edge and Internet Explorer 11. Microsoft knows that Internet Explorer isn’t the most popular browser out there. And it also have very bad reputation in terms of speed and security. This prompted Microsoft to launch a new browser and get involved in the browser business. The new Microsoft Edge browser has a lot to offer in terms of performance and security. Microsoft Edge browser security features have been enhanced along with some performance to compete with other web browsers.
Some Of The Microsoft Edge Browser Security Features
Internet Explorer is not very popular browser out there. But with the arrival of Microsoft Edge in Windows 10 Microsoft is looking to be a serious player in browsers market. In fact, according to Microsoft’s blog, Edge was built with security as its highest priority. According to a post by Team Microsoft in their May 11 blog:
“With Microsoft Edge, we want to fundamentally improve security over existing browsers and enable users to confidently experience the web from Windows. We have designed Microsoft Edge to defend users from increasingly sophisticated and prevalent attacks.”
A good browser should be capable of protecting you and your data from malicious threats. Edge contains several major security enhancements that help protect users from phishing or hacking attacks. Let’s take a look at some of the Microsoft Edge browser security features.
Microsoft SmartScreen, used in both Internet Explorer 11 and Microsoft Edge, was introduced with IE8. It is a very important component of both Microsoft Edge and Windows 10. It protects users from phishing sites by performing a reputation check on the websites they are browsing. If the website is OK, SmartScreen will allow you to proceed but if anything looks suspicious, you will be warned. SmartScreen also helps to defend people against being tricked into downloading and installing malicious social-engineered software. It also helps users against drive-by attacks.
Drive-by attacks are malicious web-based attacks that compromise your system by targeting security vulnerabilities in commonly used software, and may be hosted on trusted sites.
The best part in SmartScreen is integrated not only to Edge but also into Windows 10 shell and other apps. This has an added advantage as some apps try to connect to websites on their own, without the need for browser. SmartScreen in Windows 10 Shell will prevent them from connecting to phishing or malicious websites.
Sandboxing the Edge App
A major security issue with Internet Explorer was that the browser was built directly into Windows. This meant that if the browser was infected or compromised, your entire computer might be taken down along with it. So Microsoft decided to sandbox Edge browser to provide more security.
Sandboxing is a security term for executing a program or software in a contained environment so it cannot affect any other programs that may be running on a device. This means better security for the end user because if Edge is compromised, the rest of the computer won’t be harmed.
This will prevent attackers from gaining control of all of your computing resources. Even if they gain access to the Edge browser, they will be sandboxed and put there. So that they can’t go ahead and compromise your computer.
HTML and Modern Web Standards
Microsoft Edge has a new rendering engine called Microsoft EdgeHTML. It is focused more on modern standards of security and rendering so that web developers can build and maintain websites across all modern browsers. The Microsoft EdgeHTML engine supports W3C standards for Content Security Policy (CSP). It help web developers defend their sites against cross-site scripting attacks. It also have support for HTTP Strict Transport Security feature. This helps ensure that connections to important sites, such as to your bank, or e-commerce websites are always secured.
Microsoft Edge is a 64-bit App
Microsoft Edge runs in 64-bit not just by default, but anytime it’s running on a 64-bit operating system. Because Microsoft Edge doesn’t support legacy ActiveX controls or 3rd-party binary extensions, there’s no longer a reason to run 32-bit processes on a 64-bit system. The value of running 64-bit all the time is that it strengthens Windows Address Space Layout Randomization (ASLR).
ASLR randomizes the memory layout of the browser processes, making it much harder for attackers to hit precise memory locations.
In turn, 64-bit processes make ASLR much more effective by making the address space exponentially larger and, therefore, more difficult for attackers to find the sensitive memory components they’re looking for.
Other Microsoft Edge browser security features is called Windows Hello. Microsoft Edge is the first browser to natively support Windows Hello as a more personal, seamless and secure way to authenticate your identity on the web. Windows Hello is Microsoft biometric sign-in system. It helps in authenticating your identity using your face, fingerprint, iris or even heartbeat detection gathered from a wearable device, which are unique to you, instead of traditional passwords.
Windows Hello was first introduced as a means of signing into your Windows account, but after the Windows 10 Anniversary Update, it’s now supported in Microsoft Edge. Not only is Windows Hello more convenient than typing a password—it’s more secure!
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