Category Archives: Security

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Microsoft Edge extensions, one year later

It has been a little more than a year since Microsoft first shipped the number one requested feature for Microsoft Edge – extensions! Today, we are excited to share a few updates on the progress we have made since then, and a quick look at what’s planned for the future, as we continue to listen to feedback from customers and partners.
We heard loud and clear that extensions like ad blockers, password managers, and key productivity enhancements are important to our customers to make the browser meet their needs. Throughout 2016, we worked closely with a small group of partners to launch a core set of highly-requested extensions through the Windows Store as part of the Windows 10 Anniversary Update. The first extensions in the Windows Store were AdBlock, Adblock Plus, Amazon Assistant, Evernote Web Clipper, LastPass, Mouse Gestures, Office Online, OneNote Web Clipper, Page Analyzer, Pinterest Save Button, Reddit Enhancement Suite, Save to Pocket and Translator for Microsoft Edge.

Enabling more powerful extensions
When we shipped this first batch of extensions, the response from our customers and enthusiasts was tremendous. Still, many of you were immediately ready for the list to grow, and have often asked when a personal favorite extension will show up.
Before we could enable a wider ecosystem of extensions for our customers, we needed to improve the capabilities of our extensions platform to allow new categories of extensions and more features for existing extensions. Over the past year, we’ve been focused on a few key engineering investments to add new capabilities:
Native Messaging (supported from EdgeHTML 15) allows an extension to communicate with a UWP application installed on the system, enabling apps to integrate with more sophisticated functionality outside of the browser, which enables more advanced password management and other features.
Bookmarks (supported from EdgeHTML 15) allowing an to access your favorites (with associated permissions.)
Improved APIs – In addition to new APIs like bookmarks, we improved and fleshed out the existing API classes already supported, which combined meant we support over 30% more APIs than in the initial release.
Fundamentals – Astute observers of our release notes and active testers in the Insider program may have noticed that some preview builds break extensions temporarily. The Insider program is key for us to see how experimental features are working on a build with real users, including helping us where we were falling short. We have used that data to improve the reliability and performance of our extension platform and will continue to focus on improving these fundamentals in future releases.
We’re always evaluating additional API support for future releases. You can see the extensions APIs that we currently support at our Extension API roadmap, as well as those that are under consideration (for example, Downloads and Notifications). We’re keen to hear your feedback on what’s most important to your extensions – let us know on UserVoice or via Twitter at MSEdgeDev.
Building a thoughtfully curated ecosystem
We have taken a purposefully metered approach as we onboard new extensions. Extensions are one of the most substantial features in a new browser, and we have a high bar for quality. Because extensions interact so closely with the browser, we have been very attuned to the security, performance, and reliability of Microsoft Edge with these extensions enabled. Starting with a small group of the most popularly requested extensions has allowed us to mature our extension ecosystem as alongside our extension platform, as well as to build a smooth onboarding experience for developers over time.
As we’ve continued to work on the extensions platform, we sometimes get questions asking why the list of extensions isn’t growing faster. What gives?
We are extremely sensitive to the potential impact of extensions on your browsing experience and want to make sure that the extensions we do allow are high-quality and trustworthy. We want Microsoft Edge to be your favorite browser, with the fundamentals you expect – speed, power efficiency, reliability, security. Poorly written or even malicious add-ons for browsers remain a potential source of privacy, security, reliability and performance issues, even today. We want users to be confident that they can trust extensions in Microsoft to operate as expected. As such, we continue to evaluate each extension submission to ensure that it will bring value to our users and support our goals for a healthy ecosystem.
A growing catalog of trusted extensions
Today, in the Windows Store, our partners are offering over 70 extensions worldwide, and are adding more every week – including popular extensions like Grammarly, which launched earlier this week! As this list grows, we will continue to preview new functionality and experimental extensions starting with Windows Insiders for testing and feedback, followed by a broader release via the Windows Store, to ensure the quality of the end-to-end experience.
Looking forward, we continue to work closely with our developer partners to onboard new extensions into the Store. We continue to prioritize what APIs we should support, and what partners we should work with from user feedback, so please keep it coming! Thanks to our users and partners for a great year!
– Colleen Williams, Senior Program Manager, Microsoft Edge

Microsoft Edge Web Summit 2017 recordings are now available on Channel 9

Last week we welcomed hundreds of local developers and thousand of online viewers to our third annual Microsoft Edge Web Summit! Videos and slides from each session are now available to stream or download on Channel 9.
Learn about what’s new in EdgeHTML 16 in the keynote at Microsoft Edge Web Summit 2017.
Our sessions will bring you up to date on what’s in store for EdgeHTML 16, including learning how to use new and updated features like CSS Grid Layout, object-fit and object-position, WebVR, and the Web Payments API.

Learn about how to build faster websites with a fast and furious tour of web performance in the real world, and how to keep your development and testing on track with sonar, a new open-source, community-owned linting tool for the web. And make sense of the always-evolving web app landscape while blending the best of web and native with Progressive Web Apps.

Or go on a deep dive into the inner workings of the browser, to learn how we’re constantly rebuilding Microsoft Edge to be more secure, more accessible, and faster than ever, with every release we ship.

That’s just the beginning – there’s lots more to see on Channel 9, and we’ll have more to share about these topics and more in the coming weeks right here on the Microsoft Edge Dev Blog.
Thanks for joining us at Microsoft Edge Web Summit 2017 – we can’t wait to see you next year!
— Kyle Pflug, Senior Program Manager, Microsoft Edge

Automated Response for Windows Defender ATP

From C-level execs to Sec-Ops pros, our customers tell us they are overwhelmed with the rapid pace new cyber threats are released in the wild. That’s why at Microsoft staying ahead of the security challenges our customers are facing and shifting the industry to next-generation security defenses are critical strategies to addressing these threats.
Today, we’re announcing Windows Defender Advanced Threat Protection (ATP) will include automated investigation and remediation capabilities later this year. This takes enterprise security to a new level enabling our customers to move faster from device, data and insight to action against modern-day threats.
Understanding the security challenge
Since we announced Windows Defender Advanced Threat Protection, it has continually evolved with new detection capabilities, investigation and hunting tools and response options. With the Windows 10 Fall Creators Update,  new prevention capabilities were added, as well as capabilities to stop attacks as they happen, enabling companies to use the full power of the Windows security stack for preventative protection. We also enhanced our single pane of glass experience so security operations (SecOps) teams get full visibility into their Windows endpoint security and a rich toolset to take action using the Windows Defender ATP console.
Now 18 months since launching Windows Defender ATP, customers have more visibility into threats than ever before. In fact, Windows Defender ATP processes 970 million malicious security events per day per day from across the Microsoft enterprise and consumer eco-system, making the Intelligent Security Graph richer every day. This staggering figure shows the magnitude of the threat landscape being surfaced to customers, yet visibility is simply not enough.

From visibility to action
While detecting threats is half the battle, security teams are struggling to follow up on the volume of alerts they see. Research from analyst firm EMA found that 88 percent of organizations receive up to 500 alerts per day that are classified as “severe” or “critical”, and 60 percent only had three to five full-time employees (FTEs) working those alerts. 88 percent of participants said their teams could investigate only 25 or fewer severe/critical events per day. This leaves what David Monahan, research director for Security and Risk Management at EMA calls “a huge, and frankly insurmountable, daily gap.”
We can help – with built-in security automation in Windows Defender ATP
Following the recent acquisition of Hexadite, a leader in security automation, we are happy to announce we have successfully integrated Hexadite’s innovative security automation technology into Windows Defender ATP. This enables Windows Defender ATP customers to leverage state of the art AI technology to solve their alert volume challenges by letting Windows Defender ATP automatically investigate alerts, apply artificial intelligence to determine whether a threat is real and to determine what action to take, going from alert to remediation in minutes at scale. With this addition, Windows Defender ATP now covers the end-to-end threat lifecycle from detection to investigation and response automatically.
Here’s a sneak peek at what’s coming:

With the new security automation capabilities, Windows Defender ATP can not only find breeches; it can fix them. These actions can be run automatically for simple, clear-cut cases, or can be reviewed prior to execution. Either way, time and effort is saved by SecOps, enabling those talented professionals to focus on more complex and strategic problems. In addition, the organization’s security team moves faster, thereby better executing on their critical mission.
Try Windows Defender ATP today
The new WDATP automated response capabilities will be available for customers to preview later this year. Sign up for a 90-day trial of Windows Defender ATP today or enable Preview features on existing tenants.

Evolving our Windows approach to AV, thanks to partner feedback

Earlier this summer I shared that we believe in a healthy antivirus ecosystem working with us in protecting our shared customers from security threats. Our top priority is and always will be to protect our customers with security innovations for the Windows platform, increase our customers’ pre- and post-breach security stance, and provide a platform that offers choice.
Part of delivering on that commitment is listening and responding to feedback from our customers and partners. We work closely with AV partners like Kaspersky Lab, and at our Microsoft Virus Initiative forum last month, we made great progress in building upon our shared understanding of how we deliver Windows 10 updates and security experiences that help ensure the ongoing safety of Windows customers.
I’m pleased to share these discussions have helped us clarify our roadmap and implementation plans. As a result, we are making updates to our AV partner requirements today that reflect the interests of the community and our shared customers. We will also implement changes in the Windows 10 Fall Creators Update.
Here are some of the changes we are making to support our partners in delivering security protections to Windows customers.
We will work more closely with AV vendors to help them with compatibility reviews in advance of each feature update becoming available to customers. This means customers can expect we will have worked through compatibility issues with AV providers before offering the update to customers running that AV.
We will give AV partners better visibility and certainty around release schedules for feature updates. This includes increasing the amount of time AV partners will have to review final builds before the next Windows 10 feature update is rolled out to customers.
We will enable AV providers to use their own alerts and notifications to renew antivirus products before and after they have expired.
We have modified how Windows will inform users when their antivirus application has expired and is no longer protecting them. Instead of providing an initial toast notification that users could ignore, the new notification will persist on the screen until the user either elects to renew the existing solution or chooses to rely on Windows Defender or another solution provider.
We appreciate the feedback and continued dialogue with our partners and are pleased to have found common ground with Kaspersky Lab on the complaints raised in Russia and Europe. We look forward to our continued partnership with the industry.
Customers deserve the best and most up-to-date protection possible. Microsoft and our security partners share a commitment to keep them safe.