Microsoft EMET 5 review - Familiar goodness


Updated: November 15, 2014

If you've come around here before, you will have noticed a bunch of interesting things: Fascination with goats and minefields, humor de la extreme and yes, talk about EMET, which happens to stand for Enhanced Mitigation Experience Toolkit, a software created by Microsoft and designed to stop all kinds of exploits from pwning your boxen. In reality, it's more than that. It's a good coding ninja. Fail your OOP and the program goes down.

I really love the concept. Add your program into the EMET list, and from that moment on, it is monitored for violations in the memory space. It might be totally legit, but if it decides to misbehave, it will be stopped. That's what EMET does, and that's what makes it totally superior to all those would-be anti-malware nonsense programs. And now, we are going to take a look at the latest version five dot oh or one, whichever you prefer, and see what's new on the block. Follow me.

Teaser

EMET v5 at a glance

The installation is simple. You will need dotNET 4.0 installed. Then, the setup is just a few quick next-next-next clicks. If you have followed my very extensive guide and tutorial, linked earlier at the beginning of this article, you will know your way around. Like EMET 4.0, the latest edition asks you whether you want to retain your old settings, if you had the software installed before, or use a recommended set, which essentially wipes your rule slate clean.

Initial setup

The main GUI is identical to what we've seen in the past. You can change the skin if you don't like the flat white looks. Beyond that, the usage remains identical. You can setup system wide settings, list your applications, including wildcards, and configure the mitigations, and finally setup trust certificates for websites.

GUI

New skins

If you look at the default set, you will notice some of the programs do not have all of the mitigations enabled, probably because legitimate code triggers violations and causes the software to crash. Like I've mentioned earlier. This ought to help developers practice saner and safer coding, even though it is more demanding and difficult.

App mitigations

Certificates

Beyond that, v5 is identical to v4. The same simple logic applies. Now, this is not a tool for totally clueless users, but it is great for experienced people who seek simple, no-nonsense security for their Windows. And that's the magic of it.

Conclusion

I have praised EMET enough in the past. It's a simple, robust, non-intrusive tool that does its work by being as dumb as possible. There's no great cunning, just a set of coding rules, and if they don't get followed, cacky hits the fan, and hopefully, saves you from bigger damage. Very neat, and one of the best ideas to come out of Microsoft's forges.

Since you're reading Dedoimedo, you probably qualify as a somewhat experienced user, hence this is an ideal tool to play and tinker. It will wean you off pointless anti-virus software and all that useless scare going around the Web. You will be happier, and your operating system will also be happier, because it won't be wasting its bytes on useless blacklists, and will focus on strict coding discipline. That's all there is to it. Enjoy.

Cheers.

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