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Thread: Windows Update.. spyware ?

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jan 2003

    Windows Update.. spyware ?

    Hey All,

    I found this interesting when i read it .. thought id share
    Accourding to this story taken from The Register

    Evidence obtained by German hardware site tecChannel suggests a list of software installed on an XP machine is sent to Microsoft when users run Windows Update.

    When patches are downloaded, a few kilobytes of data are sent in the opposite direction over a secure SSL channel.

    Because the data is encrypted a simple packet sniffer can't be used to see what this data contains.

    However tecChannel's tecDUMP utility takes advantage of an undocumented WinInet API, enabling an examination of the data before it becomes encrypted.

    According to tecChannel, the information sent to Microsoft includes details of all the software installed in a machine, not only Microsoft applications.

    The latest version of Windows Update Privacy Statement (which dates from last October) states: "Windows Update must collect a certain amount of configuration information from your computer".

    This configuration information includes OS version number, IE version number and "version numbers of other software for which Windows Update provides updates" along with plug and play ID numbers and regional settings.

    But there's no mention of collecting data on software from other vendors running on a machine. And this software can't be updated using Windows Update. So why is Microsoft collecting this data?

    One for the conspiracy theorists ... ®

    story taken from Here

  2. #2
    Junior Member
    Join Date
    Dec 2001
    I've been thinking this same thing for a while...whats stopping Microsoft from taking any information off your computer? Nothing.

    Prediction: Huge Microsoft scandal uncovered in the near future, in which Bill Gates is publicaly executed for stealing the worlds financial information.

  3. #3
    AO übergeek phishphreek's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2002
    Supposedly... Windows Update just checks your list of MD5 checksums of you updates against a master list of updates for your specific OS. It will then determine which updates you need or which updates m$ reccommends you to get.

    I don't know why they'd encrypt it though... not much data to expose that you can't find out with other utilities...

    I wouldn't be surprised if they did check to see what else you had on there though. They could easily check your product reg. #s while doing updates. Ah... the power of the registry.
    Quitmzilla is a firefox extension that gives you stats on how long you have quit smoking, how much money you\'ve saved, how much you haven\'t smoked and recent milestones. Very helpful for people who quit smoking and used to smoke at their computers... Helps out with the urges.

  4. #4
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Jan 2003
    for such a powerful company you would think they would want to generate goodwill among the users of it's products. what I see is they have the market so saturated it is difficult not to use their product. Why not be upfront and foster a trusting relationship with the consumer instead of hostlity , resentment and distrust???
    I don't run linux at home because I am familiar with M$ but it is only a matter of time, and not because of product quality (or lack thereof) but the being treated like an ******* who doesn't know what's going on!
    the only way to fix it is to flush it all away-tool

  5. #5
    Junior Member
    Join Date
    Oct 2002


    Ah the rich get richer and then they flush us down the toilet. M$ does seem to have a wrap on the software market so one would think that would surfice but apparently not. It gives me the willies to think about what other shadows might lurk in the M$ closet

  6. #6
    Junior Member
    Join Date
    Sep 2001
    I just had that feeling with a ME security up-grade; and itdoes not help that Microsoft has shared source code with China, or maybe they had a door and just wanted to close it.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Sep 2001
    Originally posted here by phishphreek80 [/i]

    I wouldn't be surprised if they did check to see what else you had on there though. They could easily check your product reg. #s while doing updates. Ah... the power of the registry.

    At least one thing is sure: Windows Update does check your Windows XP registration code.... causing me to update through recordable media.. for now.

    I'm going to give M$ the kick under the ass I've long been waiting for:
    Linux, here I come!

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