Microsoft has added a number of new features to Windows 11 since its release late last year. The additions include a new security feature aimed to protect you from malicious apps on your computer, but there’s a big problem before it even rolls out to user.
Microsoft announced the new Smart App Control feature for Windows 11 at its “Future of Hybrid Work” seminar, along with several other announcements such as a tabbed file browser, improvements in video conferencing thanks to artificial intelligence (AI), and system-wide live captioning, and more.
Adding Smart App Control is important for one important reason: Android apps. With Android apps now available on Windows 11 computers thanks to the Amazon Appstore and soon Google’s Play Games service, it’s important that there is a mechanism to ensure users are protected from malicious apps.
Android apps have long been a popular vector for spreading malware, and despite Google’s best efforts, malware has often been found on the Google Play Store. With Windows 11 adding support for Android apps, it opens millions of computer users around the world to another attack vector.
What is Windows 11 Smart App Control?
Microsoft brings some of the security enhancements, known as Smart Screen, from its Edge browser to Windows 11 operating system. It should be noted that SmartScreen was also available in the erstwhile Internet Explorer as well.
Smart App Control uses a similar technique to protect you from malicious apps that you may have downloaded without knowing whether they are safe or not.
Each time you download & run a new application, Smart App Control uses code signing & artificial intelligence to allow only those processes that are considered safe. According to Microsoft’s vice president of operating system security, David Weston, the feature uses “trillions of signals.”
If this sounds interesting to you, here’s the bad news: you’ll need to restart your computer if you’re already running Windows 11.
“Smart App Control will roll out to new devices with Windows 11 installed. Devices running earlier versions of Windows 11 will need to be reset and have a clean install of Windows 11 to take advantage of this feature,” Weston said.
Essentially, Microsoft is punishing early adopters of its latest operating system, and those who didn’t upgrade now have another good reason to stay on Windows 10.
In addition, Microsoft has announced other security improvements such as credential guard enabled by default & encryption of personal data, among other enterprise-grade security features.