Security features in Windows 8 will discourage operating-system attacks and drive hackers to develop malware that compromises hardware directly, according to McAfee's security predictions for 2012.

"Advances in the Windows 8 bootloader security feature have already caused researchers to show how they can be subverted through legacy BIOS," McAfee says in its "2012 Threats Predictions, "meanwhile, the product has not even been fully released yet."

At the same time Intel is developing its unified extensible firmware interface that is meant to enforce secure booting, which will further prod attackers into designing malware that evades these new protections, the report says.

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