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08.10.15

Microsoft is Turning All of Windows (Not Just Vista 10) Into Malware, Turning Networks Into Botnets, Harvesting Sensitive Data Everywhere

Posted in GNU/Linux, Microsoft, Vista 10, Windows at 3:35 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Officially becoming a malware company, expanding beyond patent racketeering and political blackmail

A grave
The Microsoft apologists insist that privacy is dead, giving Microsoft the carte blanche

Summary: The villainous side of Microsoft comes out more bluntly, as any regard for privacy is dismissed as irrelevant, private networks are becoming Microsoft’s playground, Windows silently but remotely gains more malicious antifeatures (with the hallmark of espionage), and the same rogue operations are extended to Android and GNU/Linux (if Microsoft can gain a foothold there)

THE TERM “Vista 10″ has been catching on (many people use it now) and the wiki page for Vista 10 has had nearly 3,000 page views since Vista 10 was released (that’s when the page was first set up). Since then we have seen GNU/Linux-centric authors writing about Vista 10 (there are two examples today [1, 2]), but we don’t see what the big deal is. Here in Techrights, having accumulated data over the past 8 days, only 0.7% of visitors used Vista 10 (we checked the back end, which strictly retains logs for no longer than 4 weeks) and some other Web-wide surveys put it at around 3%, contradicting popular lies about adoption rates of this seemingly gratis ‘upgrade’. Vista 10 is a huge disappointment for Microsoft, but the company will never publicly admit it (we know what people from the inside, i.e. Microsoft employees, think because we confidentially hear from some). There is a massive budget dedicated to manufacturing bogus (sometimes pre-prepared or ghostwritten by agencies) ‘reviews’ and praises of Vista 10. It’s peaking right now, so it may take some time for the ‘hangover’ (real users’ feedback) to truly show up and dominate the Web. It was the same when Vista 8 was released, never to be widely adopted at all, just loathed (the boss got fired, too).

“There is a massive budget dedicated to manufacturing bogus (sometimes pre-prepared or ghostwritten by agencies) ‘reviews’ and praises of Vista 10.”Today’s article is not a rant about Vista 10 but a survey of recent revelations and key articles, as opposed to puff pieces (there are plenty of those because the release is relatively recent, meaning that the marketing budget has not been exhausted just yet). As we are going to show, Microsoft is seemingly coordinating a response to criticism, almost as if it sends talking points or memos to ‘buddies’ in order to confuse the public and berate critics.

Microsoft Abuse

Several authors (Linux-centric people on the Web) told me that they get abused for criticising Vista 10 and I too received many personal insults, none of which address anything that I wrote but instead are an attack on character. These come from people whom I never heard from or heard about. Remember that Microsoft recently got caught paying for abusive AstroTurfing of this kind (planting comments). Showing the ‘smoking guns’ is hard unless whistleblowers come out (as some recently did, acknowledging that Microsoft pays them to game Reddit).

Microsoft Crowd Says Privacy is Dead

We kindly ask readers to inform us if they see the following rather terrible ‘damage control’ from Microsoft. Here is Microsoft’s response to allegations over privacy violations. It goes along the lines of, “if they ask, we give. Erk. In the post-Snowden era, that’s going to put a few noses out of joint.”

Microsoft has done absolutely nothing to deny that it seriously violates privacy. That is far too well documented to deny. What we have found, however, is diversion tactics. Here is a Microsoft/MSN-connected site (also “Microsoft apologists,” according to iophk) responding with shameless spin, claiming “The inevitable death of privacy” (Microsoft apologists and employees use the same kind of excuse habitually).

Microsoft Peter reads from the same memo, apparently, as his best defence was his ludicrous headline “Windows 10’s privacy policy is the new normal”. Well, maybe if you pretend that BSD and GNU/Linux don’t exist!

“We have strong reasons to suspect there’s behind-the-scenes coordination here.”Notice the pattern and spot the party line. Microsoft is basically heralding the death of privacy as if this alone will make its own attacks on privacy any more acceptable. We ask readers to post a comment if they see more of this and share information about where it comes from. We have strong reasons to suspect there’s behind-the-scenes coordination here. We saw that back in the Vista days.

Security Not Guarded, Only Mocked, Stampeded

The other day The Register asked: “Are you a Windows 10 converts responsible for young computer users? Be on your guard. Child-friendly Family Features from Windows 7 and 8 won’t be recognised or accepted in the new operating system.”

It’s hardly a surprise. Based on feedback we see on the Web, many people complain about anything-but-smooth an ‘upgrade’ process.

As we pointed out the other day, installing Vista 10 turns one's PC into part of a botnet (Windows Update, which cannot be blocked). The Microsoft-operated botnet is clearly out of control, or out of the scope of what’s legal (not that Microsoft believes laws can be enforced against it, ever). It’s also a massive security breach. “Windows 10 commandeers users’ upload bandwidth,” said the headline of this IDG article, composed by a Microsoft critic. “Windows 10 is FORCING ITSELF onto domain happy Windows 7 PCs,” said this article from The Register. Is this even legal? “Windows 7 PCs are being force fed a diet of Windows 10, breaking a promise made by Microsoft,” says the author. “The problem is affecting domain-attached Windows 7 PCs not signed up to Windows Server Update Services (WSUS) for patches and updates, but looking for a Microsoft update instead.

“Based on feedback we see on the Web, many people complain about anything-but-smooth an ‘upgrade’ process.”“The upshot is PCs, ranging from 10s to hundreds at a time, simultaneously chowing down on the 3GB-plus Windows 10 load, killing business networks.

“The problem began showing up on Monday with complaints beginning to notch up online.”

Vista 7 and 8 Silently Turned (Modified) Into Malware

“And now they are adding the tracking and telemetry to Win 7 and 8 in updates,” pointed out one person to me last week, “for those who don’t upgrade https://support.microsoft.com/en-us/kb/3068708” (can this be legally tolerated?)

Clearly enough, whatever Microsoft has made of Vista 10 (and now predecessors too!) is violating privacy or data protection policies in many firms, such as law firms. They need to wipe this malware off their networks to avoid being sued for confidential document leaks. Their keystrokes, for instance, mustn’t be divulged.

“Windows has technically become malware.”“Indeed Microsoft has realized that its income is going downwards,” said one person to me. “And more important, as many other companies, they now know that the data of their “clients” is more valuable than the services and software they provide. So the tendency is clear: they are offering zero price products and services because they don’t want people thinking about expending some $ or €. They just want data, and more data and more data…”

Windows has technically become malware. It already was, but it’s getting worse. It is hard to deny that it is now malicious software, operating well outside the control (and consent) of the user. If people click “OK” to express consent to the new policy, however, their chances of a day in court greatly diminish.

One site has just explained “Why You Must Dump Microsoft NOW”. “As of August 1, 2015,” it says, “Microsoft announced a new privacy policy and a new services agreement. In the words of one network professional, “Basically, they redefined their operating system to be spyware.””

The site recommends GNU/Linux instead, stating: “The version of Linux I like best is Linux Mint. With it, you can run OpenOffice (also called LibreOffice), which does everything essential that MS Office does. Then get Firefox for a browser and Thunderbird for email, and you’re in business.”

“Microsoft does not find it sufficient to spy on Windows users but also tries to do the same in Android and in GNU/Linux (well over a billion users).”Brad of “Goodbye Microsoft” remarked on this article by saying: “In the thirteen-plus years that I’ve been using Linux, I have never signed a user agreement to do so. Nor have I checked “accept” to terms on a web page, nor opened a shrinkwrap package with a you-accept-this license inside. In fact, I couldn’t legally use Linux at all but for the fact that the authors have accepted an agreement, the GNU Public License (GPL), which says that I’m free to use their work.* (With each passing year I become more amazed at the brilliance and the foresight of the creators of the GPL.)”

It’s a Data Harvesting Venture

Microsoft does not find it sufficient to spy on Windows users but also tries to do the same in Android and in GNU/Linux (well over a billion users). Microsoft wants to spy on GNU/Linux servers too (with confidential data of customers or staff) because Scott Hanselman, whom we mentioned here for Microsoft spin (like the 'new' Microsoft uses Microsoft’s channel and “talks to Khalid Mouss about how you can monitor your Linux machines within an Azure infrastructure.” We have already explained why this is extremely dangerous.

To illustrate just how dangerous it is to let Microsoft operate servers, consider the latest excuses for Office 360 spyware at the heart of British politics (where Microsoft blackmails MPs [1, 2]). Bogus excuses are now being given, after Microsoft failed for several days to deliver mail to MPs (the article downplays this duration by a factor of 6). The Register acts as Microsoft’s courier by blindly saying (without any proof) that it’s a case of “Microsoft failing to inform itself about a technical change” (as if changing something in a mail server should take it down for several days, without expectations as such).

“When it comes to privacy, Microsoft is demonstrably far worse than Google.”“The outage occurred on 23 June,” The Register says, “and resulted in a total of 13 hours of downtime, the Parliamentary Digital Service said in response to a Freedom of Information request.”

According to reports in the British media (not much of it covered this blunder — something that people openly complain about in social media), this outage lasted days, not 13 hours. Why is The Register relaying Microsoft’s propaganda and ‘damage control’ without even a challenge?

Either way, does Vista 10 not provide enough evidence that nobody should relay mail through Microsoft (snooping of mail by Microsoft for business reasons has been done before) and definitely mustn’t host a servers (including GNU/Linux) inside Microsoft datacentres? When it comes to privacy, Microsoft is demonstrably far worse than Google.

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2 Comments

  1. A Reader said,

    August 10, 2015 at 4:50 pm

    Gravatar

    There’s a typo in paragraph 5: “Microsoft has done absolutely to deny that it seriously violates privacy.”

    The freemansperpective quote contains a factual error that is probably worth noting: “With it, you can run OpenOffice (also called LibreOffice),”. LibreOffice is a fork of OpenOffice, not merely an alternate name.

    Dr. Roy Schestowitz Reply:

    Thanks, I’ve fixed the typo (missing word).

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