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Windows Phone Security Model: Overview & Security Chambers

Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Beth Hendricks

Beth holds a master's degree in integrated marketing communications, and has worked in journalism and marketing throughout her career.

The Windows Phone's security model was built on the concepts of isolation and least privilege. The device accomplishes that with a tiered chamber system with varying degrees of privilege. In this lesson, we'll explore those chambers. Updated: 01/07/2023

Security Concerns

We place a lot of importance on security in today's world. We have video cameras, alarm systems, padlocks, deadbolts, passwords, biometric scanners, fingerprint readers ... the list of security tools goes on and on.

So, it probably comes as no surprise that today's smartphones are similarly equipped. Why? Because they contain valuable and sensitive user data that manufacturers, as well as device owners, want to keep safe and secure.

iPhones are renowned for the secure platform known as the App Store, where users can safely download trusted software applications. Android devices are more vulnerable to hackers and attacks; Android developers have been working to ramp up security on these devices.

But, what about Windows? The Windows phone, sometimes forgotten in the iPhone versus Android debate, has steadily improved in security performance since it was first introduced in 2010.

Let's take a closer look at the Windows phone security model, including the four types of security chambers on which it's built.

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  • 0:04 Security Concerns
  • 1:08 Windows Phone Security
  • 2:17 Security Chambers
  • 4:07 Lesson Summary
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Windows Phone Security

When it comes to security on Windows mobile devices, there are two important principles at work: least privilege and isolation. Least privilege means that rights and permissions for users or developers are restricted to only the minimum necessary to complete the task. In short, rather than having free rein of all of a Windows phone's processes, an app developer will only have access to those areas required to reasonably perform a task.

Isolation is the notion that phone elements and processes have boundaries within which they must operate, without infringing into the boundary of any other element or process.

To construct this type of security model, Windows phone developers turned to the idea of security chambers — a tiered system of trust in which threats to the outermost layer cannot infiltrate the inner, more vulnerable layers. Outer layers are bigger, giving users or processes the least amount of access in which to wreak havoc, while the inner layers are smaller, with the highest amount of access or trust. The inner layer is the area most susceptible to the greatest damage.

Now, let's examine each of these four security chambers.

Security Chambers

We've already identified security chambers as a type of tiered system with least to most trust, moving from the outer layers to the inner ones. Here are the four types of chambers present on a Windows phone.

The least privileged chamber is the default chamber assigned to most applications and processes on a Windows device. This chamber is where all third-party applications reside, like Facebook. The applications in this chamber receive the least amount of trust from the Windows device itself. The assignment is based on what the third-party app states that its capabilities include.

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