Did you know that when you turn on and begin installing and using your favorite apps on Windows 8 later this year, just as I did last night, data containing everything you installed is automagically sent to Microsoft? Neither did we until this morning – it’s just been revealed by security researcher Nadim Kobeissi that Microsoft’s built in “SmartScreen” technology sends data about everything you install on your computer over to Microsoft without you even knowing.
“This is a very serious privacy problem,” Mr. Kobeissi says. “it may be possible to intercept SmartScreen’s communications to Microsoft and thus learn about every single application downloaded and installed by a target.” The potential interception, which could exploit insecurities in the SSLv2 protocol used on Microsoft’s SmartScreen servers, may allow a third party user to target a Windows 8 installation and discover which applications are being used.”
Luckily, there’s a way to turn off this feature entirely for all you current and will-be Windows 8 users. Simply click the “Desktop” tile on your Start Screen to get back to the classic Windows UI, open the Action Center settings pane via the flag icon in the taskbar, click “Change Windows SmartScreen Settings”, and check off the “Turn off Windows SmartScreen” option – that’ll patch up this security hole nice and quick.