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  1. #1
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    Default Windows 8 Tells Microsoft About Everything You Install, Not Very Securely

    Windows 8 has a new featured called Windows SmartScreen, which is turned on by default. Windows SmartScreen's purpose is to "screen" every single application you try to install from the Internet in order to inform you whether it's safe to proceed with installing it or not. Here's how SmartScreen works:

    1. You download any application from the Internet. Say, the Tor Browser Bundle.

    2. You open the installer. Windows SmartScreen gathers some identifying information about your application, and sends the data to Microsoft.

    3. If Microsoft replies saying that the application is not signed with a proper certificate, the user gets an error that looks something like this.

    Attachment 1002

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  2. #2
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    Default Re: Windows 8 Tells Microsoft About Everything You Install, Not Very Securely

    I figured out that MS had new ways of snooping. I also am suspicious of Metro or what ever they call the mess now.
    Joe

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  4. #3
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    Default Re: Windows 8 Tells Microsoft About Everything You Install, Not Very Securely

    Some of the details are in this article, in regards to Smart Screen & what it does.

    Windows 8 privacy complaint misses the forest for the trees | Ars Technica

    More of the Windows 8 Hate Train gravy (according to more than one commenter) The Smart Screen deal isn't new at all, it's been with us, one can easily disable it, if desired. I've ran into a few of those warnings myself (those who have installed Classic Shell more than likely has) when trying out new apps. Whether or not MS is actually spying on us, we'll probably never truly know. MS has always asserted that they don't collect personally identifying info on it's customers.

    I believe that's what I'll do, is simply disable it. But if MS starts to really spy on their customers, that's not good. Apple had enough market share to get by with it (the iPhone situation), plus they have the deepest pockets of any corporation in the US. They have money to buy verdicts in their favor & play down any negative publicity fast. They also have plenty of money to create a stir over competitor's products, paying one journalist to say this, another news outlet to say that.

    Like the recent OS that caused battery issues, Apple really doesn't care about that, because that's not their bread & butter, phones & gadgets are. They will fight tooth & nail to protect those markets, in reality, they are losing a little ground both to Windows & Linux on the computing side. Their computer line is about as streamlined as it can get, with so few customers, it's no wonder why prices are so high. Thing is, dropping prices won't help their computer business, because MS has that market cornered (to date).

    MS cannot afford this to happen with Windows 8, these type of articles are probably causing users to second guess buying Windows 8, & rightfully so. By now, this has spread to most every Windows 8 Forum there is, along with Windows 7 Forums, to stay away from Windows 8. Now, users are going to begin to disable Smart Screen like wildfire, some are already finding out that Windows Defender isn't what it's supposed to be (the one & only security app that Windows 8 users needs), it's failing to catch the simple things (like password stealing/grabbing tools), or ISO's with the tools on it.

    I cannot stress enough, that security MUST be multi-layered, one additional app isn't enough. Last night, on a clean install of 8 RP, Panda's Active Scan found not one, but two security threatening registry entries (policies), this was BEFORE I began to install my apps. I always scan with different products after a clean install, & after the install is complete. This is how I stay virus free, I scan, scan & scan again, daily.

    I also cannot stress enough that MS has to stop this crap, if it is indeed going on, & get with giving users what they want, spyware isn't on that list. I say that Smart Screen, along with the UAC, should be scrapped altogether. MS is treating us as kids, those who doesn't run security to intercept bad code gets what they ask for in getting infected. These users who doesn't run security, probably could care less what Smart Screen or the UAC warnings are about anyway. Us informed users, who stays away from pirated software & other risky behavior, it's a slowdown for us that we don't need.

    I'm also, from this point forward, going to run from a local account, rather than be logged onto MS's servers at every login. There has to be some degree of privacy risk being signed on live all of the time. Especially those such as students, employees who uses their computers at the workplace, & those who frequents coffee shops & other places that hosts free Internet.

    There are free & legal tools included with most any popular Linux OS, that can look at the same monitor that you're looking at, while across the room, or in the parking lot. Don't take me wrong, the act is illegal & wrong, the tools are perfectly legal & there are 100% legit uses for them. Just as guns don't kill humans, evil people does.

    Back to Smart Screen & Spying, MS is actually begging to sell Windows 8, at $40 for an upgrade (that can be cleanly installed, with the setup media only), System Builder is going to be far less than $100, they are obviously on their heels. At this point, with many considering skipping Windows 8, even if it were free, MS has to come clean & now. I'm normally a 100% backer of MS, right or wrong (on small issues), but this isn't small.

    Before this spreads further, eroding potential Windows 8's potential buyers, tomorrow is Monday morning. Ballmer needs to address Windows users (in particular Win 8 Beta Testers) & issue an apology if any of this is true to the slightest, & needs to remove Smart Screen (as well as any other spyware) from Windows 8 RP, as well as all supported versions of Windows w/o further delay.

    If not, the media, fueled by Apple, Google & other competitors, is going to pounce on this & not let off. Come 10/26, the anticipated crowd that Ballmer has promised, won't be there, even at $10 per license.

    I'll be honest, Windows 7 was certainly an improvement over earlier releases when it came to security, even at this stage. And more stable. One would be foolish to give up the security & stability that Windows 7 SP1 offers for $40, which is exactly what the $40 deal is. Giving up what we have. As well as what little privacy that we thought we had.

    Cat

  5. #4
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    Default Re: Windows 8 Tells Microsoft About Everything You Install, Not Very Securely

    I agree, another naysayer trying to convince people of the evil empire. Use any Google app (Chrome, iGoogle, etc.) and your phone home problems are much worse than SmartScreen.

  6. #5
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    Default Re: Windows 8 Tells Microsoft About Everything You Install, Not Very Securely

    Seems that many things has tracking apps, including newer cars. In the past, I don't know about now, insurance companies (where permitted) would give a discount, in return for installing a device that monitored driving conditions. In particular, & with the earlier versions, at the time of an accident. Today's devices that's built in to many autos can produce these stats minutes prior to accident, looking for speeding, swerving, fast braking & who knows what else.

    Many stats could be retrieved through these earlier monitors, though some evidence was challenged in various courts, including the fact that the insurer didn't explain what the device was doing (tracking their activity). Come on, these folks weren't that dumb, they were smart enough to take a offered discount, benefited from it for years, then scream spyware/privacy when there's an accident. The insurance companies explained the discount program & how it worked, those who didn't "know" just didn't read or listen, except the reduced premium part.

    Cell phones are notorious for tracking users also, & has led to criminal convictions in court (where such evidence is permitted). By placing the suspect at or near the crime scene at the time it took place. On the other hand, this technology has exonerated suspects from conviction. Kind of hard to say one committed a crime in LA when the accused was in NYC, with a digital trail to prove it. For this reason, it's best not to lend one's cell phone & allow whoever to leave.

    If one doesn't want their cell phone spying on his/herself, remove the battery & only install it when making an emergency call, then remove it. But, if one has nothing to hide, why bother? These devices & technology within can be useful, a 911 call is a good example of that. The phone doesn't have to be in active service, 911 calls are allowed regardless of this status. If outdoors, say in case of an accident, provided that the phone has an active signal (in range), emergency services can respond, usually within 100 feet of the call. If possible, it's recommended to stay on the phone until responders arrives.

    Indoors, where the caller doesn't know where he/she may be, this isn't quite as effective, which is why, if nothing else, open a window & hold the phone outside.

    So "spyware" can save or cost one, depending on the situation. The details on the Smart Screen filter have yet to be told from MS, though I did read an entire article related to threeone's OP with plenty of details, it's 3rd party & it's the Media. The Media tends to alter facts at their discretion, to sell a story. Journalism is a highly competitive trade, many are independents looking for a breaking story to get front page exposure. Independents of this type can gain a network job by breaking the right story, or lots of smaller ones. This would be considered to be a big one, if the entire contents are correct.

    Honestly, I hope that the reports (all that it is at this time) isn't true. MS hasn't responded yet, but I'm hoping for a soon one with a full explanation of the facts. Part of the issue isn't as much as what is collected, but how. Modern browsers has certain security protocols, & some are challenging that MS isn't using them in Smart Screen, as well as error reporting. In some environments, such as Free public Internet access, or businesses that provides it, saying McDonalds for example, where one can park outside & freely use the service, it's hard to say that anything is secure. That responsibility falls on the user's back.

    If one uses a notebook on the run a lot, especially using Free sites, there is VPN software that can be purchased at a low cost, that prevents a user across the room to view the user's screen, reading email & other items.

    Security is the sole responsibility of the user, there's warnings on many sites in regards to this, in the fine print. No site that I know of offers a 100% foolproof guarantee of information leakage. Most states (including MS) that they do all possible to prevent data theft, but doesn't promise it. This is where using the Internet poses a risk, though this risk is slight. The bigger risks are virus/malware related, something that the user CAN do something about.

    In addition to Windows Defender, there's MBAM for the nasty code, & many online scanners to check behind WD. Unfortunately, I've found bad code & even a couple of "suspicious" registry entries on a clean install of 8 RP. Being that it was a new install, I let those slide. But any downloaded apps, no, these are NOT permitted to run if a scan proves it to be unsafe, especially if MBAM finds something.

    So the user MUST be aware of their surroundings, & if there are any installed apps that "may" compromise security, remove or disable it. In the event of downloaded or purchased apps, remove these. Smart Screen can't be removed, but can be disabled, putting an effective halt to reporting. Also, one can choose NOT to report issues altogether, in the Settings of the computer. Those running XP, it's unnecessary to report anyway, they're not addressing issues with XP at this time.

    Those who are concerned about this, that's the answer, disabling the Services, including any Location providing software. Run from a Local account & a lot of privacy (as well as Security) issues will be resolved.

    Cat

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