Windows 10 Technical Preview

Microsoft launched its Windows 10 on Tuesday and is giving all members of its Windows Insider Programme a free look see at the new Windows 10.  Microsoft is giving the Windows 10 Technical Preview version as a gesture of openness and willingness to collaborate with developers and users and get their feedback on the ultimate Windows 10 that it may launch by the end of this year.

Backdoor?

As more and more users are jumping the queue to download the Windows 10 through the Windows Insider Program, almost all of them have forgotten to check the Privacy Policy and Terms and Conditions users accept while downloading the Windows 10.  If you study the privacy policy you will be startled at the amount of freedom you are giving Microsoft to spy on you.

“Microsoft collects information about you, your devices, applications and networks, and your use of those devices, applications and networks. Examples of data we collect include your name, email address, preferences and interests; browsing, search and file history; phone call and SMS data; device configuration and sensor data; and application usage.”

The above stuff may or may not be used against any user and forms the standard of any privacy policy by any Applications maker but study a bit further and you may get more and more surprised.  In a way by accepting the Windows 10 Technical Preview installation you are giving Microsoft unhindered access to your behavioural habits

“We may collect information about your device and applications and use it for purposes such as determining or improving compatibility” and “use voice input features like speech-to-text, we may collect voice information and use it for purposes such as improving speech processing.”

In simple words, Windows 10 Technical Preview is a collecting your voice, your chats, and your voice.  Albeit it is doing so with your permission.  The Privacy Policy also goes on to deliver further shocks.

 “If you open a file, we may collect information about the file, the application used to open the file, and how long it takes any use [of] it for purposes such as improving performance, or [if you] enter text, we may collect typed characters, we may collect typed characters and use them for purposes such as improving autocomplete and spell check features.”



The above said input recording methods are a classic keylogger malware features.  In absolute terms you are giving permission for Microsoft to screen your files and keep a log of your keyboard and other inputs.  Renowned Windows blogger Mary Jo Foley recently said, “I’ve heard Microsoft built a new real-time telemetry system codenamed ‘Asimov’ (yes, another Halo-influenced codename) that lets the OS team see in near real-time what’s happening on users’ machines.”

Microsoft has not yet commented on what it do with all the data it will generate from all the Windows 10 Technical Preview users but you are definitely signing on a spyware when you install the Windows 10 on your machine. Still, the service can be protected from WiFi and hacking with VPN for Windows but whether this is enough to offset the amount of data you would give to Microsoft depends largely on the user.

Users rarely read the EULA / Privacy Policy / Terms and Conditions.

It is a fact that 99 people out of 100 users downloading and installing a software rarely read the EULA / Privacy Policy / Terms and Conditions.  To prove this F-Secure, the security blog made a fascinating discovery on how exactly people react to the really dumb privacy policy.  Their second objective was to research on whether people would really sign up for a private open WiFi

They asked Finn Steglich of the German penetration testing company, SySS, to build a WiFi hotspot, take it out on the streets of London, and set it up and wait for folks to connect. With the free service they put up a very outlandish T & C which every user willing to use this free WiFi would have accept. F-Secure blog notes that,

“One of the terms stipulated that the user must give up their firstborn child or most beloved pet in exchange for WiFi use. In the short time the T&C page was active, six people agreed to the outlandish clause.

Herod Clause

The F-Secure experiment proves that humans are fallible to free goodies and would sign up for almost anything once they come to know it is free.  Though F-Secure would never take your first born child or your beloved pet, but technically you did be required to hand over the same once you sign up for the free WiFi.

Ditto for Windows 10 Technical Preview.  Once you sign up for the free download, there is no stopping Microsoft from using your chats, voice scans and other details though it may never use them.  But you have accepted and let them use it!!!