20% Faster & [Windows] 10% Less Secure
Microsoft’s latest operating system Windows 10 has been making waves in the tech world. With an estimated adoption rate of 20.1% in the first 12 months it is a safe bet to say that Windows 10 will be coming soon to a desktop, laptop or tablet near you. While the speed and efficiency benefits of Windows 10 are evident, we must ask ourselves what security implications this brings?
Technology companies such as Google have made headlines time and time again over their shady security practices and the large amount of data they collect about users. Microsoft seems to have taken a lesson from the likes of Google with Windows 10. In this article we will discuss a handful of “features” which are included in Windows 10 and enabled by default and how they compromise our everyday security. As consumers we have the right to privacy and that includes privacy about our daily activities and browsing activities. These are facts about our lives and how we spend our time which we should share only should we find it necessary and not something we should be obligated to share for the profit of another company.
Windows 10 by default takes the very friendly choice of automatically going through most of your personal data including contacts, calendar, mail and messages with the guise of improving your Windows experience. Information collected from the Operating System is linked with an individualized ID (“Advertising ID”) assigned to you. This information is then uploaded to the Microsoft servers where it is used for the purpose of making your Windows experience better and your operating system smarter.
Smarter means more involved. If you decide security is for you and encrypt your hard drive then Windows automatically stores that data on One Drive which opens up its own set of security issues. The security violations mentioned above go further as Microsoft’s own security policy (See here: http://www.microsoft.com/en-us/privacystatement/default.aspx) state that Microsoft can scan and analyze all information that passes through their services (including outlook, MSN and live) in addition to information obtained from Cortona (enabled by default in Windows 10) – including but not limited to searches, reminders, notes and actions. Your location is also recorded via GPS hardware or WiFi location data if available.
Should you allow the default settings when installing Windows 10 or during an upgrade you will be consenting to all of the above. The good news is that there is something you can do about it. You can protect your privacy with a few easy steps which we will discuss below.
- Search for Privacy from the start menu
- Turn off the following options:
-“Send Microsoft information about how I write”
-“Let apps use my Advertising ID”
- Search for advertising
- Open the “Choose if apps can use my advertising ID” option
- Disable the advertising ID
We also suggest disabling Windows 10’s new “WiFi Sense” feature which in essence uploads your WiFi passwords to the cloud and then shares them with all of your contacts so that they can “borrow” your WiFi networks. While this may seem like a handy feature you must consider the security risks that this poses. Protecting your WiFi network can be a crucial part of your regular security regimen and we suggest you disable this feature. Please read on to find out how.
Disable WiFi Sense
- Open the Settings pane in Windows 10
- Locate “Change WiFi Settings”
- Scroll down past your list of WiFi networks
- Locate and Disable “WiFi Sense”
While disabling the above options will make Windows 10 “dumber” and disable many of its “learning” abilities it will also make Windows 10 a lot more secure. Everything comes at a price and smarter electronics often come at the price of less security. In modern electronics security should be the priority and not an option, unfortunately that is not the choice of many major tech companies.
At IVPN we value your security. We do not store personal information about our clients, we do not keep logs and we do not assume that security is secondary to “software intelligence”. If you care about your privacy you can follow the simple steps above to make Windows 10 more secure. We also suggest using a high quality security focused VPN such as IVPN.
We have a live chat team available for inquiries anytime. Happy surfing and stay safe.