Microsoft announced a new security hub that will appear in the “Creators Update” for Windows 10 later this year. The new hub is called “Defender Security Center,” and its purpose seems to be making it easier for users to see what security features are currently protecting their computers.
Virus & Threat Protection
The “Virus & threat protection“ section will show people how many threats were found on their PC in the past. It will also allow users to scan their computers using their preferred antivirus tool (either Windows Defender or a third-party antivirus) and specify their protection settings. The antivirus tools will also be updated from the same place.
Device Performance & Health
This is where the user will see how their computer performs and whether there are any problems with the updating system, the drivers, the device's battery life, or if there’s enough storage capacity. People can also “refresh” their Windows operating system, which means all installed apps will be uninstalled, but their files and settings will be kept.
Firewall & Network Protection
This section doesn’t seem to do much yet other than provide some basic information about the networks to which the device is connected and links to network troubleshooting information.
App & Browser Control
The "App & browser control" page seems to be mainly about the SmartScreen security feature, which scans links and third-party apps as they are downloaded. Microsoft implied the settings here should work for other browsers other than its own Edge, but perhaps the other browsers will need to utilize some Windows API to take advantage of them. Right now, this page seems to be addressed to Microsoft’s Edge browser.
Microsoft has gotten in a little bit of trouble before by trying to use its access to core Windows technologies to push users from Chrome or Firefox to Edge, but it remains to be seen if this page is meant to do the same. Either way, Chrome and Firefox already use Google’s “Safe Browsing” service, which does more or less the same thing as SmartScreen.
As the name implies, the "Family options" section allows users to change all the settings related to Internet and app restrictions for children. Users can also check on their kids’ browsing activity, set-up screen time habits, and view the health and safety of their children’s devices from a centralized location.
Most of the options that appear in the new “Defender Security Center” already existed in Windows 10. However, Microsoft seems to have thought that they weren’t too easily accessed, or at least they couldn’t give users an at-a-glance view of their computer's’ security.
Microsoft’s Confusing Strategies
The new security hub follows a similar approach to privacy settings that Microsoft recently unveiled as the "new privacy dashboard." (opens in new tab) However, despite being promoted as a more transparent and better way to control your privacy, Microsoft still wouldn’t allow users to completely turn off data tracking. The new privacy dashboard also seems to require a Microsoft account to be used, which kind of defeats the whole purpose of trying to hide your Windows usage habits from Microsoft. The privacy settings for your computer will have to be set-up online, too, which also doesn't make too much sense from a privacy perspective.
It’s also not quite clear why Microsoft decided to use the “Defender” name here, when it could’ve used just “Security Center.” Microsoft seems to want to make the “Defender” brand stronger, but at the same time it only ends up creating longer and longer names that users can't remember anyway. Another recent instance of this is the “Windows Defender Application Guard” sandboxing technology, which has little to do with Windows Defender, and could’ve just been named “App Guard.”
The “Creators Update” for Windows 10 is rumored to be released this spring (April), which doesn’t leave Microsoft too much time to add significant improvements, unless there are some we don’t know about in the works. Therefore it remains to be seen if the new Defender Security Center will be of much better use than it seems when it’s released.