Attack Surface of an Operating System is the part of the code of the Operating System which can be executed without authenticating. When we install a new software, the installation procedure changes various things in the operating system, such as copying new files, adding new rules to firewall, changing registry entries etc. It is a software which helps you analyze the changes made to the Attack Surface of Windows. It basically allows you to scan the system before installing a software and after installing one. Then you can analyze the changes made to the system configuration by comparing the two scan results. The changes can be visually seen by looking at the report that the Attack Surface Analyzer would generate. It runs on Windows 7 and Windows Vista family operating systems. That said, it will also run on the Windows Server 2008 series of Operating Systems. In this article, we will talk about Attack Surface Analyzer with respect to Windows 7 only.
You can use the this software to analyze how a new software installation would affect Windows. Not only this, but you can also find out the changes made to the system by changing the configurations within the application. For example, when you change your preferences in an application, say Adobe Photoshop, the preferences are changed in the Windows registry. Attack Surface Analyzer is able to detect such changes and then can report you. For this type of analysis, you will have to first run a scan before applying a particular setting and then run the second scan after making the changes in the preferences. The scan results of the two scans can be then compared and a report be generated through this software which you can browse later to find the fine details of what has been changed.
Attack Surface Analyzer for Windows 7 is a great software with some really interesting features. Actually it has an extensive set of features and more you use this software, more you will realize that the features provided by this software are simply great. Some of the best features of Attack Surface Analyzer for Windows 7 are:
Explanation of concepts -Although the analyzer does not come with an extensive manual for the terms, it does contain a manual which would help you understand the various terms briefly. So when you are going though the report and wonder what a particular term means, you can simply read a brief explanation of the term from within the report which is generated by Attack Surface Analyzer. Since Security in general involves a lot of concepts and terms, it is important that a help is available at hand when you need it. The software is meant for the IT professionals. Although the developers and IT professionals do understand most terms, but someone from one specialization might not be aware about the concepts of some other field. Hence, Attack Surface Analyzer is great in this respect.
Categorization of Threats – Terms in computing have gone ambiguous. One term may have different meanings in different context. For example, the word ‘interface’ has quite different meanings when it comes to Hardware and Software. Even in software, the meaning changes when you are discussing about networking and when you are discussing about the user interface. In such a condition, it becomes important that you are made aware of what part a particular term concerns. So when you are browsing through the threats, Attack Surface Analyzer provides you with an organized list of threats so that you do not have to worry about ‘where’ is it wrong.
How severe a threat is – Normally, a security problem is always a concern. But just like in most other aspects of life, there are a few threats which are to be taken care of before others. Attack Surface Analyzer tells you how severe a threat is on a scale of 5. So when you have got two threats with one as a severity index of 2 and the other of 4, you would better think of fixing the one with the index of 4 before that of 2. This is one very great addition to the software because not only someone can overlook an issue logically but even by mistake, one might miss a threat. Attack Surface Analyzer makes sure that you know what has to be done and what not.
While there are a lot of other things great about Attack Surface Analyzer, it is simply not possible to list or talk about everything on one page. You can realize the power of this software only by using it.