In July, 2015, all Windows users were prompted by pop ups that a free upgrade to Windows 10 was available for them. All the users needed to do was to register and launch a Windows 10 upgrade for their system and the update would be pushed to their system from Microsoft’s servers.
This free upgrade prompt resulted in around 14 million upgrades to the latest Windows operating system within 24 hours on it’s launch date (July 29, 2015). The numbers have since soared to 400 million, with an estimated usage share of 27.72% on traditional PCs. However, despite boasting of attractive features, Windows 10 quickly had its reputation questioned for security flaws pointed out by several industry experts. In fact, 18 months later it is still being challenged by data protection authorities.
Here are the main security issues associated with Windows 10:
Windows 10 assigns an advertising ID to each device you use. The advertising ID is assigned automatically and is tied your email address. This advertising ID is basically used to tailor advertisements for web browsing. It is basically a method to collect your activity to filter out ads that might interest you. This is similar to the method used by Google to enhance your search engine results and ads that are displayed on your browser. Although it is a means to personalize your browser, it functions by tracking your activity online.
All your personal data like your apps settings, browser history, etc. are automatically synced to Microsoft’s servers. The biggest concern here is that even Wi-Fi passwords and hotspot passwords are synced. This is done to support the Wi-Fi Sense feature, which can be used to share your passwords with contacts.
Windows 10 introduced Cortana. Microsoft’s personal assistant was popular with Windows phone users, and it is one of the reasons why people were so keen on the Windows 10 OS. However, Cortana collects a lot of your personal data without even asking you for it. Cortana can collect keystrokes, credit card passwords, online purchases, etc.
There are a few things you can do to tweak your Windows 10 Operating system to store less of your personal data.
Windows 10 is surely a decent option for people who want to use a smooth and efficient operating system. However, as we pointed out above, there are a number of security issues in the OS. With data leaks getting more common even in major corporations, Microsoft’s insistence on collecting so much information about its users seems questionable.