Security has become an increasingly important focus for Microsoft, and in some ways could be seen as the driving force behind many features of Windows 10, such as the Windows Store, forced OS updates and Windows 10 S.
This has been somewhat controversial for Microsoft’s relationship with the security industry, as demonstrated by Kaspersky’s recent EU antitrust complaint against Microsoft for their somewhat aggressive moves with Windows Defender, bundles with Windows 10, to make sure users have continuous antivirus protection.
There is now some evidence that Microsoft is planning to take it to the next step, and build further security tools into Windows 10 with the Fall Creators Update.
— Alex Ionescu (@aionescu) June 18, 2017
According to well known Windows internal expert Alex Ionescu, the latest Insider builds of Windows 10 Fall Creators Update ( build 16125) includes changes to the kernel which suggests Microsoft is building in their Enhanced Mitigation Experience Toolkit (EMET) into the OS.
The Enhanced Mitigation Experience Toolkit (EMET) is a tool that helps prevent vulnerabilities in software from being successfully exploited. EMET uses security mitigation technologies as special protections and obstacles that an exploit author must defeat to exploit software vulnerabilities. These security mitigation technologies do not guarantee that vulnerabilities cannot be exploited. However, they work to make exploitation as difficult as possible to perform and provide a kind of heuristic security which relies more on detecting unusual behaviour rather than specific signatures.
Microsoft has decided to stop supporting EMET after July 31, 2018, but recent reports suggest that Windows 10 is still less secure than Windows 7 with EMET despite already including many features of EMET such as DEP, ASLR, and Control Flow Guard (CFG).
The move is, therefore, a welcome one, but with EMET, which supports Windows 10 , Windows 7, Windows 8.1, Windows Server 2008, Windows Server 2012, Windows Server 2012 R2, Windows Vista, still slated to go away soon, it may be another way Microsoft is putting pressure on companies to move their installed base to the latest version of Windows 10.
It of course also provides another reason for security companies to complain about Microsoft, but hopefully, recent incidents such as WannaCry will make it clear security is too important to leave up to IT admins.