Windows 7 has been branded as the “safest Microsoft operating system yet by the governmental information assurance organisation,” the Communications-Electronics Security Group (CESG), although some industry experts have disagreed.
Microsoft said that CESG is actively encouraging government departments to choose the latest OS over other versions, because of features such as Bitlocker full disk encryption, which has been deemed suitable for use up to Business Impact Level 3 by CESG, meeting the needs of most governmental users.
Jonathan Hoyle, of CESG, explained that a strategic partnership with Microsoft has led to the creation of a Government Assurance Pack (GAP) which details best practice in configuring Win7 for government use. This means departments don’t have to wait for Common Criteria Certification to use Win7.
Others disagreed that Windows 7 is safer than its predecessors, however. Trend Micro senior security advisor Rik Ferguson argued that independent research had shown it to be less secure out of the box, “not because of any code level changes, but because of the default configuration choices”.