Category: Windows 8

Dec 14 2016

Darknet – The Darkside 2016-12-14 09:38:19

Microsoft breaks network connectivity for many Windows 8 and 10 users just in time for Christmas – what a lovely gift. It’s related to the network stack (obviously) but seems to be specific to DHCP, so if you statically assign your LAN addresses (like most of us probably do) then you’ll be alright. And if […] The post Microsoft Breaks...

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Aug 31 2015

Microsoft accused of adding spy features to Windows 7, 8

Windows' network activity continues to be scrutinized amid privacy concerns. Windows 10 was first put under the microscope with both new and old features causing concern. With its Cortana digital personal assistant, Windows 10 represents a new breed of operating system that incorporates extensive online services as an integral part of the platform. But its older predecessors haven't escaped attention, and questions are now being asked of Windows 7 and 8's online connectivity.

Windows 8 included many of the same online features as are now raising hackles around the Internet. While it had no Cortana, it nonetheless integrated Web and local search, supported logging in and syncing settings with Microsoft Account, included online storage of encryption keys, and so on and so forth. While a few privacy advocates expressed concern at these features when the operating system was first released, the response was far more muted than the one we see today about Windows 10. But a new addition has led to accusations that Windows 8 now mimics one of Windows 10's more problematic features: it reports information to Microsoft even when told not to.

Back in April, Microsoft released a non-security update for both Windows 7 and 8. This update, 3022345, created a new Windows service called the Diagnostics Tracking service. Microsoft describes this service as doing two things. First, it increase the amount of diagnostic data that the Customer Experience Improvement Program (CEIP) can collect in order to better diagnose problems. Second, it collects data for third party applications that use the Application Insights service. Application Insights is a preview that allows app developers to track performance issues, crashes, and other problems of their applications. The Diagnostics Tracking service collects this data and sends it to Microsoft.

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May 20 2014

China bans Windows 8 on government PCs to ensure security

The Chinese government has banned the installation of Windows 8 on government PCs, reports Re/code. The Central Government Procurement Center issued a directive last week barring the use of Microsoft's latest operating system as an energy-saving measure, according to Re/code.

State news agency Xinhua gave a different reason for the ban: it's to ensure system security after Microsoft ended support for Windows XP. The unsupported operating system is still estimated to be used on as much as half of the Chinese desktop market.

How the ban makes sense, either as a security measure or an energy-saving one, isn't clear. Lest there be any doubt, the solution to Windows XP's security problems—it's vulnerable to a number of unpatched flaws already—is to stop using it. Not ban the use of an actively supported operating system.

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Nov 13 2012

Windows 8 Not Immune to Ransomware

Cybercriminals have for some time now recognized that ransomware can be a highly profitable endeavor. This has led to a significant increase of different ransomware in the wild with no sign of it leaving the threat landscape anytime soon.

So, how effective is ransomware on Windows 8 compared to other operating systems? To answer this question, Symantec ran several prevalent ransomware samples currently found in the wild in a default Windows 8 environment. While some samples ran poorly on Windows 8, it did not take long to find a ransomware variant (Trojan.Ransomlock.U) that successfully locked a Windows 8 system, effectively holding it to ransom.

Figure. Ransomware-locked Windows 8 system

The Trojan.Ransomlock.U variant uses the geolocation of the compromised system to serve localized ransomware screens in the appropriate language. While the ransonware running on Windows 8 correctly identified our location, the cybercriminals in this case must not have realized that English is the main language spoken in Ireland (less than 15 percent of the population is actually able to read Irish language). Their ingenuity in this case has lowered the chance of the ransom attempt being successful.

As more users adopt Windows 8, Symantec expects to see more malware targeting this new environment. Symantec will continue to actively monitor the threat landscape to ensure protection against any new threats.

For a detailed investigation into ransomware variants, please see our ransomware whitepaper.


If you are affected by any ransomware scam—do not pay the ransom. Instead, follow our removal steps and watch our video for additional help.