Windows 10: OS and comprehensive spyware suite

Posted by $ DriveTrain 8 years, 4 months ago to Technology
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It was disgust but not a whole lot of surprise to read news that Microsoft's new OS, Windows 10, is basically a comprehensive spyware suite that allows Microsoft employees full, real-time access to your computer, right down to the keystrokes. Since this functionality is written into the OS code itself, it's basically a keylogger-level virus which cannot be removed. Which makes the product an absolute no-go for purchase and grounds for boycotting MS, if not switching to something else altogether (Apple is run by a goose-stepping eco-fascist, so they won't get a dime from me. Maybe Linux?)

Perhaps more alarming than the spyware that is Windows 10 itself, is the mentality at MS that thinks personal privacy is obsolete and can be blithely violated - also the sheeplike acceptance of that gross violation by the millions who've clicked the "I Accept" block during their Windows 10 install. At face value, the license agreement's language seems to boil down to "Trust us - we won't do anything bad with this information." I do not - and never will - do anything related to banking online - but if you do, do you trust some faceless worker at Microsoft with your logins, passwords, account numbers? With full access to your social media pages, which serve as a veritable goldmine of data for any would-be identity thief? Do you trust that whichever random Microsoft employee is examining the content of your computer will be someone who is in perfect lockstep with your beliefs and worldview? Should the voyeur-du-jour happen to be someone of the Sanders mentality, do you trust that this person will be magically constrained - from basically doing mayhem to you - by an unwavering commitment to respect for your right to freedom of conscience?

If you have kids who use computers, do you trust the faceless unknowns who are monitoring their every action online?

The time to draw a clear line on privacy is now. [On a tangential note, I think the advent of the digital age has made it necessary to enact some explicit and sweeping protections of privacy in the electronic age, codified into law - protections against governmental and private violations of privacy alike. I'm not a lawyer and therefore have no idea how much of this is feasible, but I'm thinking the penalties attached to violating a person's privacy via electronic means (or any other for that matter,) should be among the the most harsh this side of penalties for murder convictions. This party has to be brought to a screeching halt and the mess cleaned up, like right now.]

I urge everybody here to make complaints to MS about this outrage, and to encourage others to do the same.

Since MS is even pushing elements of Win10 at users of Windows 7 and 8, along with the normal practice of disabling multiple startup services it's now imperative to turn off Windows Updates from the outset of any drive-wipe and Win7/8 clean install.

The updates are supposedly there to fix security holes and functionality bugs, but since Microsoft has left us no choice but to sever ourselves from their updating service altogether, I'm doing a standard "Nuke it from orbit - it's the only way to be sure" workaround:

1. Leave nothing personal on your system. Save any and all documents, photos, videos, whatever, to external media, not your system's HD;
2. To ensure that any data leftover from surfing is eradicated - usernames and passwords used for log-ins that may still be lurking in your browser's auto-fill or whatever; form data, cookies, etc. - do a complete drive-wipe / OS clean install every month or so.

If there's nothing residing on your system that's of use to any hacker, my thinking is that surfing with a system whose updates aren't installed only exposes you to here-and-now threats. True, I suppose it's possible you could pick up malware that could load a keylogger that steals your passwords on the fly, as you input them - so maybe this strategy too is flawed. Obviously it's vital to do regular password resets for every place you frequent, but if someone's able to harvest them immediately, that won't help much. (If there are any IT techies here, feedback and advice on this strategy is welcomed.)

Other than instant malware exploits, if you're doing a monthly drive-wipe and saving everything externally I don't see how the bulk of the Windows updates are needed in any case. There's a variety of alternative 'Net browsers from which to choose (for the moment I'm using Epic Privacy Browser,) so the latest-lousiest IE is not needed either. There're those functional elements like "Net framework 4" and Direct X that are bundled within the Windows updates, but I'm thinking those can be located and downloaded independently.

If Microsoft does not reverse this outrageous intrusion, presumably at some point the OS versions prior to Windows 10 will no longer run newer software or internet programming. At that point I guess I just stop using the internet altogether - or maybe do the occasional necessary bit of shopping during lunch hour at work?

I'm also wondering why, a full two decades after the internet really took hold on a worldwide basis, there are still only three different OS options available to computer users - Microsoft, Apple and Linux. There should be dozens upon dozens of them by now, particularly with the violations of rights Microsoft is shoving at us and the ethical problem with buying anything from the noxious Apple company. Maybe it's just the sheer complexity of the product, but why aren't there as many OS brands as there are athletic shoe brands, microbrew beer brands, fast food franchise brands, toothpaste brands, clothing brands, soft drink brands, etc. Instead there are: three. Why?

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  • Posted by Mitch 8 years, 4 months ago
    Microsoft gets a bad rap in regards to security and backdoors. Yes they more than likely exist but they exist for other reasons other than stealing your data; I have never seen a single data packet leave a MS OS with personal data under a nefarious intent. These so called backdoors are simple misunderstandings by users. MS has more important things to do then to blackmail you based on your web surfing habits.

    I work in this industry and I work with most of the MS business products. MS has worked extremely hard at building a set of operating systems, tools and applications to allow you to manage your data better than your competitors, all for a lower price point if you know which products to utilize and which ones to leave alone. MS wouldn’t risk this to spy on your kids, yes I understand anyone that develops an Operating System has this ability to place a hidden back door but as soon as it was discovered, everyone would simply leave that product behind.

    I personally don’t touch Apples, can’t stand them. I would imagine the above applies to them as well. Both of these operating system maintains standards that must be upheld. The scary part is the open source software, this is community contributed code. I wouldn’t, I couldn’t, never would I ever believe that this code is 100% safe, and in no way safer than anything from Microsoft or Apple. Google’s OS is a port of Linux, lease risky but still the same.

    The vast majority of these so called complaints about security, spyware and bugs are truly only due to a limited understanding of what is going on and how your OS should be managed by you. I give MS a lot of credit for getting the vast majority of what they do right, they do a really good job and deserve my business.
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    • Posted by $ 8 years, 4 months ago
      Mitch, I'm not talking about random spyware and malware, but about this drastic change, being rolled out with Windows 10 and shoved at users of Windows 7 and 8, that makes the entire OS a spyware suite that you cannot eradicate and cannot defeat.

      Again, given that the personal computer is essentially an extension of its user's brain and a repository for reams of potentially vital information that can be used, or simply sold for use by others, in ways that can turn your life upside-down, we're supposed to just calm down and acquiesce under the assurance that "you can trust each and every one of the fine folks at Microsoft to be a perfectly ethical custodian of your personal data?"

      This is not just privacy-violation, it's privacy-forfeiture-by-apathy. Which latter is arguably worse than the criminality of the former.
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  • Posted by freedomforall 8 years, 4 months ago
    Ummm, an OS is a lot harder to create than a sport shoe. The complexity is beyond comprehension for most people.
    There is also the android OS, although the security is probably no better, and it comes from the other privacy invasive empire, Google.
    Your best option at present is Linux.
    btw, I have never allowed auto updates on my computers, and (in 20 years of internet use) have only had 2 viruses that required any effort to fix. I did do updates when I installed windows from scratch (e.g., on a new machine) usually every 2-3 years. I used XP exclusively until a few years ago when a new laptop had win7 and I chose to keep it with lots of add-ons to make it nearly as useful as xp. I still curse win7 almost daily for the counter-productive changes made to windows explorer. I probably won't "upgrade." Wow, hasn't that word been redefined? I have never used IE. Currently using a combo of Opera 12 and Vivaldi (Beta.)
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    • Posted by $ 8 years, 4 months ago
      "Athletic shoe brands" is an example, obviously. By the same token, the complexity of an automobile is beyond the comprehension of most people - as is the complexity of a cellphone, the complexity of an industrial high vacuum vapor deposition system, the complexity of an office building, the complexity of a laser system, the complexity of a dialysis machine, etc. - yet multiple parties produce these things and compete against one another for customers. But for operating systems for one of the most universally sought-after and used items on Earth - the computer - there are... just three?
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      • Posted by freedomforall 8 years, 4 months ago
        The product you mention are all simple compared to complexity of operating systems. The other reason, of course, is that due to the simplicity of operation of those prooducts, a prospective manufacturer can expect prospective customers to be willing to switch to a new product if given a minor (or even an imaginary marketing) reason. That is not the case with operating systems. Once a customer has expended the effort to learn how to use a complex product like windows, there is a lot of resistance to put in the effort again. There are a lot easier ways for brilliant programmers to be a success than creating an OS, which takes literally hundreds of thousands of hours to create.

        You might find these statistics on Linux development interesting:
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