Friday, March 2nd 2012

Windows 8 Has a Killswitch

Microsoft's Windows 8 is reported to come with a "killswitch", which can by flipped by Microsoft to delete malware downloaded from its App Store by unsuspecting customers. Last year, Google's Android Marketplace was swarmed by malware disguised as popular applications from various other publishers. These applications were bought and downloaded by unsuspecting users. When word reached Google, it flipped a killswitch with Android that instantly removed these bogus applications across thousands of devices. It's not just Google, Apple too has a similar killswitch with which it keeps its App Store users safe from malware.

News of killswitches with Windows (in-turn the PC platform), isn't going in too well with advocates of privacy and free-speech, who fear that Microsoft's planted killswitch gives it unwarranted power to remotely erase applications and user data (connected to these applications), without the consent of the user. It could then be used as a potential censorship tool, or even an anti-competition tool, by synthetically-engineering market-shares of software used by people.Sources: Businessweek, VigilantCitizen
Add your own comment

28 Comments on Windows 8 Has a Killswitch

#1
LAN_deRf_HA
Has either google or apple used this kill switch to remove anything other than malware?
Posted on Reply
#2
v12dock
Sounds like a service that will be receiving many many patches
Posted on Reply
#3
Liquid Cool
Btarunr...Your citing Vigilant Citizen as a source?

:)

I like that site.

Best,

Liquid Cool
Posted on Reply
#4
pr0n Inspector
by: btarunr
It could then be used as a potential censorship tool, or even an anti-competition tool, by synthetically-engineering market-shares of software used by people.

Sources: Businessweek, VigilantCitizen
Except all app stores are walled gardens of varying degrees to begin with.
Posted on Reply
#5
Frick
Fishfaced Nincompoop
by: pr0n Inspector
Except all app stores are walled gardens of varying degrees to begin with.
Yes, that is kinda the whole point with them. I'm not very worried about this.
Posted on Reply
#6
qwerty_lesh
by: Frick
Yes, that is kinda the whole point with them. I'm not very worried about this.
same. Could it be abused sure, I like to live in a fantasy world though where everythings ideal and it will only be used for its intended purpose, ignorance is bliss i say! :respect:
Posted on Reply
#7
keling
"...advocates of privacy and free-speech..."

At times I agree with these people but at times I wonder whether the things that they are protesting against are logical or beneficial for all.

Microsoft and Intel several years ago planned to put some sort of control chips in mobos so that Windows can easily identify and stop pirated media from being usable. There was a lot noise from "advocates of privacy and free-speech" so the plan was scrapped.

Then, Sony applied a similar system in its PS3 that turned it into the least pirated gaming platform available. No one from the "advocates of privacy and free-speech" said anything. In the mean time everyone's shouting the "Death of PC gaming" since piracy is as high as ever while the consoles are turning in millions in revenue.

Same with Windows Defender VS the Anti virus vendors...in fact I'm curious whether some of "advocates of privacy and free-speech" against Window's Killswitch are spurred by the AV vendors themselves. I mean why bother buying Panda AV software for your Windows 8 smartphone when Microsoft can easily kill any malware that popped up?
Posted on Reply
#8
radarblade
That kind of does breach privacy. Suppose if we install an app of our own liking that hasn't been certified by Microsoft or whatsoever and apparently it gets kicked out, people won't be happy in moving onto the Windows 8 bandwagon.
Posted on Reply
#9
Shihabyooo
Until I hear news about this switch being mandatory with no means to shut it, I'm not going to worry about it.
Secure boot, anyone ?
Posted on Reply
#10
LifeOnMars
Now if only they could come up with one for women's mouths....... :)
Posted on Reply
#12
erixx
by: LAN_deRf_HA
Has either google or apple used this kill switch to remove anything other than malware?
Appel apparantly has removed "libidinal" apps a.k.a. GLTG content or so... thus outright censoring, ah, and abortion clinics from its Fi-Fi or Si-Si localization app or however it is called


But anyway, MS could do the same since ... yesterday with the windows Security Centre
Posted on Reply
#13
Depth
by: Shihabyooo
Leave it to the Japanese.
Think I could get away with standing in the crowd with one of these while the government does a press release?
Posted on Reply
#14
Aquinus
Resident Wat-man
Sounds like I'm going to be tweaking my firewall to block certain traffic to M$...
Posted on Reply
#15
treehouse
i dont see the big deal here, this killswitch is only applicable to the windows app store, not software downloaded and installed from the internet or a storage medium.
Posted on Reply
#16
jsfitz54
by: radarblade
That kind of does breach privacy. Suppose if we install an app of our own liking that hasn't been certified by Microsoft or whatsoever and apparently it gets kicked out, people won't be happy in moving onto the Windows 8 bandwagon.
Was the app paid for, or, free?
If MS can kill it, then how does one get their money back.
It would be a double penalty.
What would be the remedy?

I have been trying Windows 8 Preview and I can say that so far I am not a fan. It looks horrible, is hard to get around in, and feels like a Vista failure.
Posted on Reply
#17
Aquinus
Resident Wat-man
by: jsfitz54
Was the app paid for, or, free?
If MS can kill it, then how does one get their money back.
It would be a double penalty.
What would be the remedy?

I have been trying Windows 8 Preview and I can say that so far I am not a fan. It looks horrible, is hard to get around in, and feels like a Vista failure.
I couldn't agree more. It looks like a Windows Phone. :shadedshu
Posted on Reply
#18
cadaveca
My name is Dave
by: LAN_deRf_HA
Has either google or apple used this kill switch to remove anything other than malware?
Google or Apple...no. Not that I have heard(I was talking about the killswitch in SB long before news was out).

However, Amazon has pulled product off of their ebook service, on the Kindle, some 2 years ago, even product that was legitimately purchased... This tech will offer the very same sort of "protection", and is part of the deal that Intel made with Hollywood.
So why would Amazon remove the books? It appears as though Amazon's purchasing system does this automatically. The company told Ars that they are "changing [Amazon's] systems so that in the future we will not remove books from customers' devices in these circumstances."
http://arstechnica.com/tech-policy/news/2009/07/amazon-sold-pirated-books-raided-some-kindles.ars


by: treehouse
i dont see the big deal here, this killswitch is only applicable to the windows app store, not software downloaded and installed from the internet or a storage medium.
Becuase such functionality is built into Intel hardware, it wouldn't be that far of a step for there to be a low-level disk-scan that looks for certain files, and then removes them. Just like how they can lock content to certain devices, they can create a routine that disallows non-authorized software.
Posted on Reply
#19
Arctucas
by: pr0n Inspector
Except all app stores are walled gardens of varying degrees to begin with.
And as such, they must allow the malware in the first place...
Posted on Reply
#20
pr0n Inspector
by: Arctucas
And as such, they must allow the malware in the first place...
You can't seriously expect apps from app stores be 100% clean. Some malicious ones can and will slip through by outsmarting the reviewers or by human errors. But it's certainly safer than simply downloading software from some random corners of the Internet and simply scanning it with AV.
Posted on Reply
#21
Arctucas
by: pr0n Inspector
You can't seriously expect apps from app stores be 100% clean. Some malicious ones can and will slip through by outsmarting the reviewers or by human errors. But it's certainly safer than simply downloading software from some random corners of the Internet and simply scanning it with AV.
I can. Seriously.
Posted on Reply
#22
TurdFergasun
"i'm sorry your external HD was not branded by windows, media not accepted into library"
Posted on Reply
#23
dorsetknob
by: Depth
Think I could get away with standing in the crowd with one of these while the government does a press release?
I think your find most governments already have counter measure in place to this Japanese device

one counter measure is a remote deployed .44" cal Pb injection
use the Japanese device from the crowd and your be on the receiving end of Multiple PB packages:roll:
Posted on Reply
#24
theoneandonlymrk
imho the point is ,what will their definition of malware be because some see origin and google as malware ,though microsoft obv wont.
Posted on Reply
#25
erixx
just thinking about apps: Why for fucks sake do most (95% or so) of all downloaded "apps" (for android and symbian in my case) ask me to allow them "network access" if they are not "network" related? (like single player games) I am afraid all those mof'ing apps are collecting usage data and even contact data! They should announce this build-in shit more transparently or DIE.
Posted on Reply
Add your own comment