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How Windows 10 became malware

Preston Gralla | June 8, 2016
Any software — even a premier operating system — that gets onto computers through stealth means has crossed over to the dark side

In this case, that’s exactly what clicking X did: gave it the same effect as OK.

So is the Windows 10 upgrade malware? One place to look for clues is in Microsoft’s document, “How to prevent and remove viruses and other malware.” That document warns, “Never click 'Agree' or 'OK' to close a window that you suspect might be spyware. Instead, click the red 'x' in the corner of the window or press Alt + F4 on your keyboard to close a window." And it defines spyware, in part, this way: “Spyware can install on your computer without your knowledge. These programs can change your computer’s configuration or collect advertising data and personal information.”

So let’s see: The Windows 10 upgrade downloads its bits to your PC without your knowledge. It changes your computer’s configuration. By default, Windows 10 collects advertising data and personal information. And if you try to stop the upgrade by doing what Microsoft tells you to do with every other application — click the X on its dialog box — it installs anyway.

Sounds like malware to me, malware that forces a Windows 10 upgrade. Sure, it isn't malware that's designed with a malicious purpose. It's not being installed on your computer with the aim of stealing your data or locking up your files until you pay Microsoft a ransom. But getting upgraded to a new operating system against your will can have drastic consequences, such as programs that won't work with the newer OS. If you unexpectedly find your PC upgraded to Windows 10, you might have to shell out for upgrades to other programs just to accomplish what you could do before the upgrade.

Microsoft should immediately reverse course and let people decide for themselves whether they want to upgrade to Windows 10, rather than to use malware tricks to get them to upgrade.

 

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