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Windows 7 security: the complete guide

Put key Windows 7 security improvements to good use

Windows 7 is just over six months old. It has been quickly adopted by PC users at home and in businesses. However, some IT admins are struggling with the platform's new security features. We take a look at the key features and what you need to know.

Rules for exceptions

If you need to make a rule for a file type that is not defined in AppLocker's policy table, you'll have to use some creativity to get the desired effect.

For example, to prevent Perl script files with the .PL extension from executing, you would have to create an executable rule that blocked the Perl.exe script interpreter instead.

This would block or allow all Perl scripts and require some resourcefulness to gain finer-grained control.

This is not a unique issue, as many other application control products have the same sort of limitation.

AppLocker's configuration and rules can easily be imported and exported as readable XML files. Plus, the rules can be quickly cleared in an emergency, and everything can be managed using Windows PowerShell.

Reporting and alerting are limited to what can be pulled from the normal event logs.

But even with the limitations, AppLocker gives up-to-date Microsoft shops an effective way to prevent users' missteps from compromising their machines - not to mention the company network.

Software makers routinely sacrifice some security for the sake of usability, and Microsoft is no exception.

I've built a career on teaching people how to harden Microsoft Windows over its default state.

But with Windows 7, most of that old advice is no longer necessary. Microsoft now delivers a product that is significantly more secure out of the box.

Administrators don't have to download NSA security templates or modify the system in any way to make users fairly secure from the start.

In most cases, they simply need to know what security capabilities Microsoft provides and how to put them to work.

See also: The 7 deadly sins of Windows 7

  1. Put key Windows 7 security improvements to good use
  2. BitLocker drive encryption and Easily encrypted page file
  3. Better cryptography and safer browsing with IE8
  4. Multiple active firewall policies
  5. Virtual service accounts and AppLocker application control
  6. Configuring AppLocker
  7. Rules for exceptions

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