Kaveh Moravej

Microsoft Malware

If I had any doubts about Windows 10 being certifiable malware, new details about how the operating system functions have finally put them to rest. We should give some credit to Microsoft for actually releasing this information, but I suspect it was published under the obscure title of 'Configure telemetry and other settings in your organization' to avoid a controversial exposé. Really, how many people think of 'telemetry and other settings' when considering privacy settings! The last time I heard anyone use the word 'telemetry' was in a news story about missiles.

In short, it seems that Microsoft has granted itself the right to download copies of your files for diagnostic purposes. By default, most of the editions are set to 'full', meaning that a Microsoft employee can remotely control your computer and command it to send any relevant information to diagnose strange crashes and similar peculiar behaviour. Like many other data hoarding companies, they claim that the data is anonymised to avoid identifying individuals, but realistically, if you have access to a person's files you can easily dig up all sorts of personal information.

Another of their supposed safeguards is their "privacy governance team", which has to approve requests for additional information. Of course, in practice, none of these safeguards actually work as they are meant to. Either a user has full control of their software or the software controls them. Microsoft appear to have taken the latter route vis-a-vis their users.

Knowing all of this, why would anyone continue to use this malware-like operating system? I suspect that much of it comes down to ignorance, habit, laziness or fear of the unknown. If you have been a dedicated Windows user for all these years, now would be a great time to try out a Linux distro like Mint or Ubuntu (you can still run Windows as a sandboxed virtual machine). I have never been a fan of Apple's overpriced walled garden, but at this point I would even be tempted to suggest a Mac over any machine that runs Windows.