Prefer to manage your safety on Windows 8 without accessing the desktop? Various modern apps can help you control security-related settings and tools, including data shredding tools and password managers to consoles providing access to your installed security suite.
Windows 8 Modern Security: What’s The Point?
Windows 8 tablets and touch-enabled hybrid devices, such as the Microsoft Surface Pro series, are just as prone to malware attacks and other threats as your desktop computer. Meanwhile, most security-related settings and tools are still controlled via the desktop and maneuvering those menus on a tiny touch screen can be cumbersome.
Fortunately, the Windows 8 store offers a wealth of security-related apps. They allow you to control settings and tools from the modern user interface, which is much more convenient. Here are the apps we think you should use to manage your online and personal security in Windows 8.
If you’re looking for an app to securely manage your passwords, the best place to start is with an app from a company with a good reputation, one that you can rely upon to produce a decent password storage solution.
LastPass is our password manager of choice, providing a secure vault for passwords, credit card and other details, complete with auto-complete features.
The Windows 8 Modern version is similar to the popular browser plugin and has the browser built into it. Note that it doesn’t have the facility to manage other apps, modern or otherwise, meaning you’ll need to continue using the desktop app for that feature.
Cleaning data securely, thereby making it almost impossible to retrieve, has become a popular demand. Until recently, only corporations and government departments were required to securely delete data from storage devices to avoid sensitive data from falling into the wrong hands. With the Snowden revelations, more people feel the need to follow these security standards.
No longer the province of the paranoid, data shredding apps are seen as a vital addition to your computer security arsenal.
Shredder 8 should be your first stop on Windows 8 when you decide it is time to obliterate the data on a particular partition or device. Using U.S DoD 5220.22-M, British HMG IS5 (Enhanced), Russian GOST P50739-95, German VSITR and quick shred algorithms, this free app is capable of cleaning up “deleted” data on any writable storage, such as hard disk drives, SSD and flash drives, as well as shredding existing files and folders.
Does it work? I don’t know, I’ve accidentally deleted my OS. Only joking – you can’t do that with Shredder 8, but you can obliterate data and from the checks I’ve made so far using data retrieval tools like TestDisk and PhotoRec, the data remains destroyed.
Setting a secure password, consisting of random characters, is a popular way to keep your online accounts from being compromised. While you can manually create a secure password you can remember, if you’re looking for something that can quickly create a reasonably secure password without having to think about it, Better Password is a good choice.
Offering a simple UI, Better Password is free and allows you to select from 5-15 characters and toggle whether the password will include special characters (punctuation and numeric symbols). If the password is required immediately, you can copy the characters into the field you’re filling in.
Need to find out more about your local network, but don’t have time to open a command prompt or launch a desktop app that will give you the information?
What’s IP Pro is a useful network monitoring toolkit, enabling you to see what devices are on your network. It also provides tools such as DNS lookup, port scans and network usage graphs.
Taking full advantage of the Windows 8 Modern interface, What’s IP Pro also offers a configurable live tile that will inform you when your network conditions have changed.
Available with a seven day trial, What’s IP Pro can be purchased for £1.69 on the Windows 8 Store.
Running a PC-based home security network? If so, you may need a quick and easy way to login and see what is happening around your property. A common solution for Windows computers is iSpy, and iSpyUI is a free app designed to access the iSpy system.
With just a few clicks you can view cameras, playback recordings and listen to audio direct from your home. The app is available free for use across your LAN, but an iSpy subscription is required for remote access from the Internet.
Touch Consoles For Desktop Security Suites
So far we haven’t mentioned any security suites. That’s because actually, there aren’t any (see below). However, that isn’t to say that big names like Norton, McAfee and Kaspersky aren’t present in the Windows 8 Store.
Rather, each of these big names in desktop computer security have opted to provide users with free touch-friendly consoles, enabling access to some functions of the desktop utilities already installed. McAfee Central, Norton Studio andKaspersky Now are available to install as Windows 8 Modern apps, although to avoid confusion you should note that there are some desktop apps available in the store, so these may also be listed.
Touch Security Apps For Windows 8: What’s Missing
As you might have noticed from the list of apps above, there are a few notable omissions in the collection of security tools for Windows 8. Anti-malware, antivirus and firewalls apps are conspicuous by their absence.
This is a little disconcerting, but it isn’t something you should be overly concerned about. As long as you have a firewall setup, an antivirus/anti-malware solution with live scanning and keep your system tidy with apps like CCleaner (useful for erasing persistent tracker cookies), you shouldn’t have any need for touch-friendly access to your system’s security settings.
If you do, you can use a console like those described above.
Are you using any of these apps on your Windows 8 computer or tablet? Do you find the lack of anti-virus apps in the Windows Store disconcerting? Let us know in the comments.