Windows 10 allows Microsoft to remote disable pirated software and hardware

Pierluigi Paganini August 18, 2015

A report revealed that Microsoft could scan PCs running Windows 10 searching for pirated games and unauthorized hardware and disable them.

One thing is certain, for better or for worse, we are talking a lot about the new Microsoft operating system Windows 10.

The experts mainly expressed privacy concerns around the Windows 10 OS, they discovered that default settings allow sending users’ data to Microsoft servers, force automatic software updates, turn on bandwidth sharing to distribute updates to other Windows 10 users, doesn’t properly protect Wi-Fi passwords.

More than 70 Million users have already upgraded their systems to the new Windows 10 OS, and security experts consider important for them to know that Windows 10 remotely disables illegal hardware and pirated games.

According to a report published on the technology website Alphr, Microsoft could scan PCs running Windows 10 searching for pirated games and unauthorized hardware and disable them.

The report published last week highlighted that Microsoft has updated its services agreement, the company informs users that if they run any pirated game or software, and also install hacked hardware, on Windows 10 it can remotely uninstall them without asking for permission.

windows 10 privacy 2

The problem is that in order to install and use Windows 10 user must agree the End User License Agreement terms and conditions, below the section reported on the website:

Section 7b of the Windows 10 services agreement now states:

“We may automatically check your version of the software and download software updates or configuration changes, including those that prevent you from accessing the Services, playing counterfeit games, or using unauthorised hardware peripheral devices.”

Although the service agreement doesn’t mention counterfeit software, experts speculate Microsoft can machines running Windows 10 for counterfeit versions of software such as Microsoft Office.

The service agreement doesn’t cover only Windows 10 OS, it is also proposed to end users of other Microsoft products and services, including Windows Phone, Skype, Xbox, Xbox 360 and Xbox Live.

“Like Expert Reviews, we think it’s unlikely that Microsoft actually intends to go after pirated games on the PC. The services agreement was clearly written originally for Xbox and Xbox Live, and when written was probably only intended to ever apply to them. However, because Microsoft has simply taken an existing services agreement and applied it to core Windows 10 services like Cortana means that, intentionally or accidentally, it could be applied to Windows 10. And until Microsoft clarifies things, we think this remains a legal grey area.” reported the Alphr website.

Let’s wait Microsoft’s reply.

Stay tuned …

Pierluigi Paganini

(Security Affairs – Microsoft, Windows 10)

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