On Thursday morning, Microsoft released the Insider Preview Build 16188 for Windows 10 users in the Fast ring. All PC subscribers to the Windows Insider program will get this update, but only Enterprise user will get Windows Defender Application Guard as a new feature.
The new security system contains threats in Microsoft Edge by launching a separate, extra safe session. It was introduced back in September last year, but it is only now that the company is asking users at big firms and organizations to try it out.
Other notable features of this build include new Edge functions for its built-in PDF reader and rearrangement of some Settings pages. Mobile users in the Fast ring also received Windows 10 Mobile Insider Preview Build 15210 as an update earlier today.
What is Windows Defender Application Guard and how does it work?
Windows Defender Application Guard is an extension of the Windows Defender system implemented exclusively on Microsoft Edge. It serves as a net that keeps online threats at bay by opening suspicious sites on a separate browser session.
“APPLICATION GUARD CREATES A NEW INSTANCE OF WINDOWS AT THE HARDWARE LAYER, WITH AN ENTIRELY SEPARATE COPY OF THE KERNEL AND THE MINIMUM WINDOWS PLATFORM SERVICES REQUIRED TO RUN MICROSOFT EDGE.”
It works like Google Chrome’s famous incognito tab, except it launches when it detects the address you are trying to access might be trying to infiltrate the system or network.
As a safety measure, Application Guard also opens most new sites by default in a protected session, particularly if they come from a link in an email. The idea is to prevent malware, viruses, zero-day exploits, and other vulnerabilities from reaching and spread all over companies.
The new browsing mode sets itself apart from regular Microsoft Edge tabs by showing the upper left corner in orange with the browser’s logo featuring a small shield. Enterprise customers need to enable the feature before being able to use it on Build 16188.
To enable Windows Defender Application Guard, users need to check the box in the “Turn Windows features on or off” menu in Microsoft Edge. After that, it is necessary to restart the computer so “New Application Guard Window” shows up as an option in the browser.
Only large companies and organizations using Windows 10 Enterprise version will get the chance to toy with this feature. Microsoft considers it is important they test it first since they are the main objective of targeted schemes such as phishing attacks. According to the tech giant, over 90% of today’s cyber attacks start with a hyperlink.