If your computer comes equipped for it, you now have biometrics security using fingerprint scanning technology. New computers will prompt you to scan your fingerprint upon first use. Your print, and that of any other user, will be stored so you can log into your computer simply by scanning your finger again.
The Security Center is now in the Action Center, a new central place for several different administrative tools like backups, updating, and troubleshooting. You can access the Action Center by going to Start, Control Panel, and System and Security. The first listed option is the Action Center. In System and Security a few other tools are centralized like firewall settings and systems administration.
DirectAccess is available on some versions of Windows 7. This utility allows you to access work computers without using a bulky VPN. Administrators manage remote computers whether they are connected to the internet or not. In addition, DirectAccess allows the use of smartcard readers.
Internet Explorer 8, included in Windows 7, also has several improved security tools. The most significant is probably the SmartScreen filter is an improvement on the old phishing filter system in the previous version of Explorer. Domain highlighting makes it easier to see the root address of the URL of the active site to help you determine whether you really are where you think you are. And improved security for Active X as well as default-enabled Data Execution Prevention helps you avoid accidentally activating malicious software just by visiting a site.
The included Windows Firewall has also been improved so that it supports multiple profiles – one firewall configuration at work and another at home, for example. Vista did this to a limited extent, but Windows 7 allows you to set up different network profiles for every connection, allowing automatic and dynamic changes as you switch from one network to another.
Many other background processes in Windows 7 were made more secure and reliable. The focus for security and networking changes seems to have been improving and perfecting the systems that have already been developed, in some cases making new innovations practical and usable for the first time. These important changes to Windows 7 networking and security will improve still further and adapt as new updates and service packs are introduced over the next few years.