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Microsoft Brings HSTS to Windows 7 and 8.1


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"In the midst of a relatively light Patch Tuesday, Microsoft yesterday introduced an extra measure of security for users running Internet Explorer 11 on Windows 7 and Windows 8.1 machines: HSTS.


Short for HTTP Strict Transport Security, HSTS is a browser header that forces any sessions sent over HTTP to be sent instead over HTTPS based on a preloaded list of sites supporting the protocol. HSTS encrypts communication to and from a website, and puts a dent in attempts to man-in-the-middle web sessions. According to OWASP, HSTS also stops attackers who use invalid digital certificates. The protocol denies users the ability to override invalid certificate messages. HSTS also protects users from HTTPS websites that also may include HTTP links or serve content unencrypted.


HSTS is already on by default in Internet Explorer 11 available in the Windows 10 Insider Preview and the new Microsoft Edge expected to be available when Windows 10 releases later this year.


“Site developers can use HSTS policies to secure connections by opting in to an HSTS preload list, which registers websites to be hardcoded by Microsoft Edge, Internet Explorer, and other browsers to redirect HTTP traffic to HTTPS,” said Kyle Pflug, program manager with the Microsoft Edge team. “Communications with these websites from the initial connection are automatically upgraded to be secure.”


Microsoft is the last of the major browser vendors to add HSTS support. Google Chrome and Mozilla Firefox have supported HSTS since 2011, while Apple added it to Safari upon the release of version 10.9 of Mavericks.


The addition of HSTS was included in a cumulative update for Internet Explorer released yesterday. The security bulletin included patches for two dozen vulnerabilities in the browser, most of which gave hackers the ability to remotely execute code on a compromised computer."



See more at: https://threatpost.com/microsoft-brings-hsts-to-windows-7-and-8-1/113258#sthash.UN9dJ7j1.dpuf

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