It’s official: Windows 10 will be available in the summer. So says Microsoft’s EVP of Operating Systems, Terry Meyerson, in a blog posted during the Windows Hardware Engineering Community (WinHEC) summit in Shenzhen, China, this week.
And a few more details have been unveiled: Windows really is making a push to unify its branding efforts with Windows 10, which is quite possibly the Redmond-based giant’s last big OS launch (it’s continually updatable). It’ll be used for Internet of Things devices, tablets, smartphones, laptops and PCs, as well as the Xbox gaming console.
Meyerson’s colleague, Joe Belfiore, (VP for Microsoft’s Operating Systems Group) confirmed at the same summit that the new OS will also feature enterprise-grade biometric authentication security. Dubbed “Windows Hello”, it dispenses with the need for easy-to-steal passwords and replaces them with iris, fingerprint or facial scans.
This is a pretty darned cool feature: as Belfiore noted in his blog post, every year billions of stored passwords are purloined from insufficiently secure (or downright insecure) servers, whereupon they’re used to access a vast amount of confidential information. That adds up to billions of pounds of fraud. With Windows Hello, cyber burglars are going to have think again.
They won’t be able to get away with a holding a photo of someone up to the camera, either. As Belfiore explained, “The cameras use infrared technology to identify your face or iris and can recognize you in a variety of lighting conditions.”
Basically, Windows 10 will ask new users to verify that they have possession of their devices before authenticating on their behalf with a PIN or, on devices equipped with the biometric sensors, with Windows Hello. Belfiore continued:
“Once authenticated with ‘Passport,’ you will be able to instantly access a growing set of Web sites and services across a range of industries — favourite commerce sites, e-mail and social networking services, financial institutions, business Relevant Products/Services networks and more.”
That means that your identity can be verified without you having to transmit a password from one device to another, a system that Microsoft has called “Passport”, and it seems vastly more secure.
Those of us who enjoy content writing are, I can tell you, getting excited about the new OS. Roll on, summer.