11. September 2007, 15:14 | by WD Milner | Full Article |

Microsoft, as usual doesn’t get it. While touting a renewed commitment to operating system security, they go and bypass the basic tenet of such - systems changes are not made without the owner’s explicit permission.

My computers belong to me and I have the final say over what gets installed. This is also an assumption held by millions of computer users for whom it is very clear. Apparently though, it is not clear to Microsoft. They have decided they have the right to automatically update Windows XP SP 2 systems without te owner’s knowledge or permission. Microsoft is also using the same gambit on Vista systems. Even if you have Windows Update turned off, Microsoft will sneak stealth "updates" onto your computer. This is not updating your system with a “Patch Tuesday” patch that Microsoft believes to be so vitally necessary; but the placement of unknown code on your systems.

Of course since they haven’t told us that they’re sneaking software onto our systems, they also feel they don’t need to tell what these updates are doing either. It is bad enough that Microsoft has a remote off switch via its often flaky Windows Genuine Advantage, but now you can’t control what they do with your machine. Their excuse, when they finally get around to commenting, will likely be something about making XP and Vista systems more stable, secure or some other vapourous twaddle. If so why not just tell people? Of course it could be that Microsoft doesn’t want to admit just how many bugs it really needs to fix in its software.

<whisper> Maybe Microsoft is sneaking in changes to monitor what we are are doing with our computers.</whisper> Paranoid? Perhaps, but on the other hand, sometimes they really are out to get you, and I can not think of a single good reason for Microsoft to be installing software on my system without my knowledge or permission. This activity squarely places Microsoft in the malware category.

These surreptitious changes are problematic as well for IT managers who try and keep all systems updated to the same level. They now have no way to know which machines have been “stealth updated” and which haven’t, and in what manner the update affects the system. Even regular “patches” can cause incompatibilities and blow up applications.

At the end of the day it really doesn’t matter why Microsoft is making these stealth changes - get out of my systems and stay out!

Thankfully, all my personal systems with the exception of a testing machine and a laptop run Linux or a BSD variant. And more and more people and businesses are asking for help in making the transititon from Windows. Keep it up Microsoft - with behaviour like this you continue to provide incentives for people to use something else!

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Categories: ,
Keywords: Microsoft,malware,linux,stealth,upgrades,trespassing



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