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Microsoft Security

New Windows 11 features strengthen security to address evolving cyberthreat landscape

Ahead of the Microsoft Build 2024 conference, we announced a new class of Windows computers, Copilot+ PC. Alongside this exciting new class of PCs, we are introducing important security features and updates that make Windows 11 more secure for users and organizations and give developers the tools to prioritize security.

Today’s threat landscape is unlike any we’ve seen before. Attacks are growing in speed, scale, and sophistication. In 2015, our identity systems were detecting around 115 password attacks per second. Less than a decade later, that number has surged 3,378% to more than 4,000 password attacks per second.1 This landscape requires stronger and more comprehensive security approaches than ever before, across all devices and technologies we use in our lives both at home and at work.

Cybersecurity at the forefront of all we do

We’ve always had a longstanding commitment to security in Windows. Several years back, when we saw cyberattackers increasingly exploiting hardware, we introduced the Secured-core PC to help secure from chip to cloud and that critical layer of computing.

As we’ve seen identity-based cyberattacks increase at an alarming rate over the years, we’ve expanded our passwordless offerings quickly and broadly. In September 2023, we announced expanded passkey support with cross-device authentication, and have continued to build on that momentum. Earlier this month we announced passkey support for Microsoft consumer accounts and for device-bound passkeys in the Microsoft Authenticator app for iOS and Android users, expanding our support of this industry initiative backed by the FIDO Alliance. Passkeys on Windows are protected by Windows Hello technology that encompasses both Windows Hello and Windows Hello for Business. This latest step builds on nearly a decade of critical work strengthening Windows Hello to give users easier and more secure sign-in options and eliminate points of vulnerability.

Earlier this month we expanded our Secure Future Initiative (SFI), making it clear that we are prioritizing security above all else. SFI, a commitment we shared first in November 2023, prioritizes designing, building, testing, and operating our technology in a way that helps to ensure secure and trustworthy product and service delivery. With these commitments in mind, we’ve not only built new security features into Windows 11, but we’ve also doubled down on security features that will be turned on by default. Our goal remains simple: make it easy to stay safe with Windows. 

Today we are sharing exciting updates that make Windows more secure out of the box, by design and by default.


Windows 11

Create, collaborate, and keep your stuff protected.

Modern, secure hardware

We believe security is a team sport. We are working in close partnership with our Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM) partners to complement OEM security features and deliver more secure devices out of the box.

While Secured-core PCs were once considered specialized devices for those handling sensitive data, now Windows users can benefit from enhanced security and AI on one device. We announced that all Copilot+ PCs will be Secured-core PCs, bringing advanced security to both commercial and consumer devices. In addition to the layers of protection in Windows 11, Secured-core PCs provide advanced firmware safeguards and dynamic root-of-trust measurement to help protect from chip to cloud. 

Microsoft Pluton security processor

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Microsoft Pluton security processor will be enabled by default on all Copilot+ PCs. Pluton is a chip-to-cloud security technology—designed by Microsoft and built by silicon partners—with Zero Trust principles at the core. It helps protect credentials, identities, personal data, and encryption keys, making it significantly harder to remove, even if a cyberattacker installs malware or has physical possession of the PC.

All Copilot+ PCs will also ship with Windows Hello Enhanced Sign-in Security (ESS). This provides more secure biometric sign ins and eliminates the need for a password. ESS provides an additional level of security to biometric data by leveraging specialized hardware and software components, such as virtualization-based security (VBS) and Trusted Platform Module 2.0 to help isolate and protect authentication data and secure the channel on which it is communicated. ESS is also available on other compatible Windows 11 devices.

Stay ahead of evolving threats with Windows

To enhance user security from the start, we’re continuously updating security measures and enabling new defaults within Windows.

Windows 11 is designed with layers of security enabled by default, so you can focus on your work, not your security settings. Out-of-the-box features such as credential safeguards, malware shields, and application protection led to a reported 58% drop in security incidents, including a 3.1 times reduction in firmware attacks. In Windows 11, hardware and software work together to help shrink the attack surface, protect system integrity, and shield valuable data.2 

Windows Hello for Business

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Credential and identity theft is a prime focus of cyberattackers. Enabling multifactor authentication with Windows Hello, Windows Hello for Business, and passkeys are effective multifactor authentication solutions. But, as more people enable multifactor authentication, cyberattackers are moving away from simple password-based attacks and focusing energy on other types of credential theft. We have been working to make this more difficult with our latest updates:

We have also prioritized helping users know what apps and drivers can be trusted to better protect people from phishing attacks and malware. Windows is both creating new inbox capabilities as well as providing more features for the Windows app developer community to help strengthen app security.

As we see cyberattackers come up with new strategies and targets, we continue to harden Windows code to address where bad actors are spending their time and energy.

Lastly, with each Windows release we add more levers for commercial customers to lock down Windows within their environment.

Explore the new Windows 11 security features

We truly believe that security is a team sport. By partnering with OEMs, app developers and others in the ecosystem—along with helping people to be better at protecting themselves—we are delivering a Windows that is more secure by design and secure by default. The Windows Security Book is available to help you learn more about what makes it easy for users to stay secure with Windows.

Learn more about Windows 11.

To learn more about Microsoft Security solutions, visit our website. Bookmark the Security blog to keep up with our expert coverage on security matters. Also, follow us on LinkedIn (Microsoft Security) and X (@MSFTSecurity) for the latest news and updates on cybersecurity.

1Microsoft Password Guidance, Microsoft Identity Protection Team. 2016.

2Windows 11 Survey Report, Techaisle. February 2022.

3Users can manage their LSA protection state in the Windows Security Application under Device Security -> Core Isolation -> Local Security Authority.