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CONGRATULATIONS NEW WINDOWS 10 USERS: MICROSOFT HAS ENROLLED YOUR COMPUTER INTO THEIR BOTNET

USEFUL DEFINITIONS

A botnet (also known as a zombie army) is a number of Internet computers that, although their owners are unaware of it, have been set up to forward transmissions to other computers on the Internet. 

Peer-to-Peer, denoting or relating to computer networks in which each computer can act as a server for the others, allowing shared access to files and peripherals without the need for a central server.

We have long ranted about those unilateral user agreements that do little or nothing to legally protect users from harm caused by a vendor's software and which may convey extraordinary access to your computer system to improve your so-called "user experience." Mostly by examining your system's operating system and programs and returning this information to the vendor's mostly anonymous system. In other words, legal spying on your activities. As for a vendor's promise to anonymize your data to remove non-public personal information, they often include a GUID (Globally Unique IDentifier) that links your identity to your computer through the registration and licensing process. This GUID may also be embedded into all files and transmissions from your machine so that your work product may be tracked by law enforcement and linked to other data to produce a digital dossier of your activity.

Compromised faster than the blink of an eye cibe

Microsoft does examine your Windows 10 system with its mandatory "telemetry" function ...

Windows 10 makes diagnostic data collection compulsory

Microsoft has expanded its diagnostic data collection with Windows 10, making mandatory what had been a voluntary telemetry program.

Windows 10 includes a telemetry and diagnostics service that cannot be fully disabled. In earlier editions of the OS -- including Windows 7, 8 and 8.1 -- Microsoft's data gathering was optional. Users had to agree to join the "Customer Experience Improvement Program," or CEIP, for telemetry to be collected and sent to the Redmond, Wash. company from those operating systems. And if users changed their mind, they could stop it. 

In Windows 10, the equivalent of CEIP is compulsory.

Dubbed "Feedback & diagnostics," the feature in Windows 10 and Windows 10 Pro -- the two SKUs (stock-keeping units) bundled with new devices and used by all consumers and many businesses -- is not only on by default but cannot be completely deactivated without a dangerous trip into the Windows Registry. <Read More>

Not that Microsoft is going to resolve any of my problems for me, just that they want to know about the issue and if non-Microsoft software might be involved.

With a few exceptions for high-end commercial users, Microsoft now demands that your Windows 10 system be mandatorily upgraded automatically ...

Windows 10 updates to be automatic and mandatory for Home users

Windows Update can't be readily disabled in Windows 10 Home, and the license terms that all users must agree to allow Microsoft to install updates automatically.

Updates. The software periodically checks for system and app updates, and downloads and installs them for you. You may obtain updates only from Microsoft or authorized sources, and Microsoft may need to update your system to provide you with those updates. By accepting this agreement, you agree to receive these types of automatic updates without any additional notice.  <Read More>

Facing user unrest and potential class action lawsuits for consequential damages for bad updates, even though you have executed a hold harmless agreement clause in your user agreement, it appears that Microsoft has relented somewhat.

Microsoft caves on Windows 10 mandatory updates, but adds spying apps to Windows 7/8

It's a week where Microsoft giveth and Microsoft taketh away. On the plus side, it has caved on the mandatory app updates for home users and will allow them to opt out. On the down side, it has back-rolled some of the privacy-intrusive parts of Windows 10 to its older operating systems.

The mandatory updates were for both the OS and hardware drivers as well as Windows Store app updates. This only applied to home users, business users were exempt. It wasn't really an unheard-of move. Gamers live with that constantly, especially online gamers. You're getting the update whether you want it or not. <Read More>

The Microsoft plan to create a botnet using your machine ...

And just when you thought it couldn't get worse, Microsoft implements its own botnet -- turning your PC into a server to convey their software to an unknown third-party on the internet using your machine, your time, your money, and possibly placing you at some risk.

Windows 10 shares your files with the internet... here's how to turn it off

By default, a Windows 10 update will use your bandwidth to share files on your PC with other PCs. This walk-through shows how to disable that feature--or tone it down a bit.

If you are one of the millions of users who have upgraded to Windows 10, you are likely to be very familiar with the Windows update process. Microsoft updates Windows 10 when it needs to be updated. It's part of Microsoft's master plan and is generally a good thing.

To facilitate efficiency in the Windows 10 update process, Microsoft has created a system it calls, in typical cryptic fashion, Windows Update Delivery Optimization. To put it in simple terms, when Delivery Optimization is on, Windows 10 will send updates from your computer to other computers on your local network or on the internet. That's right, Windows Update Delivery Optimization is a peer-to-peer (P2P) network, which operates similarly to BitTorrent. 

Windows Update Delivery Optimization has two settings:

  • Setting 1 allows Windows 10 to share files with other computers on your local network only.
  • Setting 2 allows Windows 10 to share files with other computers on your local network and with other computers on the internet.

Setting 2 is the default for every edition of Windows 10 except Windows 10 Enterprise and Windows 10 Education; those editions default to Setting 1. Windows Update Delivery Optimization is also active for any apps you purchase and download from the Microsoft Store.

<Read more and learn how to modify these settings>

Wonderful ... 

But it could be worse. For those who watch Microsoft closely, there appears plans afoot to lock you into their infrastructure platform by eliminating all boxed software and perpetual licensing. Thus, you would purchase program access via SaaS (Software as a Service) and operate either in the "cloud" or with designated local storage. How you could avoid providing security keys to access cloud-based data is problematical since law enforcement is currently able to use administrative letters served on third-party vendors with "do not tell" provisions to spy on your activities.

Oracle's Larry Ellison was one hundred percent accurate when he asked,"What the hell is the cloud?" It is the same old remote computing system where you use someone else's computer and pay for the usage. No magic there.

Bottom line ...

I can understand the danger that a unpatched system presents to the user and the internet community. And, that automatic updates and upgrades will be a boon to the totally clueless or the uncaring user; but, there is also two very disturbing issues few are discussing.

  • One, what if someone with the "keys to the kingdom" -- full access to Microsoft's secrets and systems -- decides to go rogue and mount a crippling attack against its customer base or is compromised by a third-party, possibly a foreign agent, to execute a cyberthreat of almost unimaginable proportions?
  • Two, what if a vendor's largest customer, the government, decides to coerce a vendor into inserting key-loggers or security key capture software into a particular machine or group of machines. It is well-known that many former government security and law enforcement people, still loyal to their previous employer, are now employed by most large vendors -- posing yet another threat of extra-judicial snooping.  (Wink-Wink)

And if you think that high-level people with motive, means, and opportunity are immune from temptation ...

Here is a story about NSA (National Security Agency) people who spied on lovers.<Read More>

Or the story of Obama's nominee, Erroll Southers, to head the Transportation Security Administration; whose nomination had to be withdrawn. "Southers said he was censured by the FBI because he had, 20 years ago, 'asked a co-worker's husband, who worked for the San Diego police department, to run a database check on my ex-wife's new boyfriend.'" <Read more

And, as SONY can well attest, adding security or digital rights management software to a system can be compromised by third-parties to create havoc and loss in the user community. <Read More>

The Linux open source software is beginning to look more and more attractive as Microsoft's operating system becomes more intrusive.

We are so screwed as "open and transparent" becomes "closed and secretive." I suggest that you join the Electronic Frontier Foundation (www.eff.og) where they are trying to adapt, modify, and create new protections for a digital age.

-- steve


“Nullius in verba.”-- take nobody's word for it!

“Beware of false knowledge; it is more dangerous than ignorance.”-- George Bernard Shaw

“Progressive, liberal, Socialist, Marxist, Democratic Socialist -- they are all COMMUNISTS.”

“The key to fighting the craziness of the progressives is to hold them responsible for their actions, not their intentions.” – OCS

"The object in life is not to be on the side of the majority, but to escape finding oneself in the ranks of the insane." -- Marcus Aurelius

“A people that elect corrupt politicians, imposters, thieves, and traitors are not victims... but accomplices” -- George Orwell

“Fere libenter homines id quod volunt credunt." (The people gladly believe what they wish to.) ~Julius Caesar

“Describing the problem is quite different from knowing the solution. Except in politics." ~ OCS

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