Updates - Untracking ToolsI was wondering when privacy enhancing utilities would be come available. Here is the first one:
the second one:
and the third one:
I still think that the only secure way to use Windows 7, 8 and 10 is in a virtual machine with networking disabled. The trouble is that you cannot stop encrypted tunnels with deep packet inspection in a router, so you have to unplug the network cable so to speak.
The only real solution is UNIX - buy a Mac, install Linux Fedora or PC-BSD. Anything else is futile.
Free CandyThere are many an old proverb about free stuff, but the latest action by Microsoft takes the cake.
Even people who declined the free Windows 10 upgrade, will now also have this bloated piggy forced down their throats: http://www.theregister.co.uk/2015/09/10/windows_10_forced_download/
It is one thing sending out free security patches and feature upgrades, but a DVD sized download will cause lots of trouble for thousands of users. Many a hard disk doesn't have that much free space and many users are on bandwidth limited networks and may get hefty overage bills, for something they did not ask for.
On the other hand, what MS may be finally admitting to, is that Windows 8 is so bad, that the only solution is to replace the whole rotten thing - for free.
Free InsecurityTo add insult to injury, Windows 10 has very serious security issues, which I have investigated a bit with tcpdump and listed in another post: http://www.aeronetworks.ca/2015/02/windows-10-on-virtualbox.html
At this point in time, I cannot recommend to anyone to use Win10. It is not worth the security risk.
Also, there are complaints that some of the new spyware features are also being pushed out to Windows 7 and 8.
Eventually, there will be some trustworthy third party firewall programs that will make it easy to strangle it all, but until then, Windows 7, 8 and 10 should only be used behind a separate draconian firewall device. Using a vanilla Win10 laptop PC in a coffee shop or airport would be a disaster waiting to happen, like WinXP SP1 was.
A major problem with 3rd party firewalls though, is that I have never seen a proper review done by someone who actually tested it with a packet sniffer to see if it really works, since most reviewers are ordinary journalists with little or no technical knowledge, who don't know the first thing about tcpdump or wireshark.
The Real Problem: Dirty TricksI am not really worried about marketing data sent to Microsoft. I am worried about what else gets sent in and out and who else is listening while the packets travel half way around the world. Any government security agency with half a clue can plant incriminating data on Windows computer systems. If MS can download a whole DVD worth of junkware to half the desktop machines in the world, then how hard could it be for the NSA or FSB to plant child porn, terrorism related junk, or classified data on a machine and then hit the owner with a long jail sentence?
If you were wondering about dirty tricks, have a look at what is happening to Hillary Clinton. The US authorities has retroactively classified data that wasn't classified at the time. Now, they can charge her and the previous administrator of her mail server and put both of them in the clink. The only thing saving Hillary, is the fact that her husband is an ex president, but if I were her mail server administrator, then I'd move to another country, far, far away.
From Soft In The Middle, To Soft In The HeadWhat on earth were MS thinking?
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