back to article 'I thought my daughter clicked on ransomware – it was the damn Windows 10 installer'

At the end of April, Microsoft's Windows 10 nagware interrupted a live TV weather broadcast to urge meteorologist Metinka Slater to upgrade her computer. A week later, while playing Counter Strike: Global Offensive to 130,000 spectators on Twitch.tv, Erik Flom was blasted out of his match by the Windows 10 installer. This was …

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  1. AlbertH

    SAM Broadcaster? Forget it.

    We used SAM Broadcaster - briefly. We found that it was rather unstable on Windoze 7 (though it wasn't bad on XP), and would spontaneously crash, often requiring a complete reboot. When the Win 10 nagware started, it became completely unusable!

    We made the biggest change possible - we moved to Ubuntu and "Rivendell" for our 24/7 streaming service. It took a little time to learn our way around the new OS and software, and to integrate it with our record library (which has always used Ubuntu).

    We stream using Icecast, and the results are superb. Quality is high, stability is perfect and the "live" option works flawlessly for programmes with live presenters.

    There was a fairly steep learning curve, and there were a few configuration niggles that were sorted out with the help of the very active Users' Group. We now use entirely FOSS software and operating systems throughout our studio centre - saving us a fortune in licensing and support costs!

    1. Pascal Monett Silver badge

      And the cherry on the cake is that your OS is not going to go change its settings behind your back.

      Microsoft : the best reason to go to Linux that ever existed.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        FAIL

        Yep! Amazing what the "greasy hair mongrel" has created!

      2. Turbo Beholder
        Devil

        Indeed.

        I, for one, fed up with micro soft nonsense even at home long ago. But to have anything on air and get a pop up like this? The next time (on air) it would be something to the effect of "Bonus: installing Lubuntu for the beginners".

    2. BobChip
      Unhappy

      Re: SAM Broadcaster? And the moral is...

      Don't go in for an operation when the anaesthetic machine runs on a Microsoft OS..... Or indeed anything else your life depends on, for that matter.

      1. Peter Simpson 1
        FAIL

        Re: SAM Broadcaster? And the moral is...

        Don't go in for an operation when the anaesthetic machine runs on a Microsoft

        You can say that again:

        https://www.accessdata.fda.gov/scripts/cdrh/cfdocs/cfmaude/detail.cfm?mdrfoi__id=5487204

        Personal experience: I work for a consulting company. A client had asked us to prototype a diagnostic tool, using LabView (a bad idea for a number of reasons, but...). We built it up, using a "panel PC", running Windows XP Embedded, and delivered it. Time passes. Client calls up, says the system is running poorly.

        I do some basic investigation and discover he's picked up a virus. Now, this PC has no networking, only a USB port for logging of data to a thumb drive. WITH AUTORUN ON BY DEFAULT. Yes, he'd plugged in a borrowed thumb drive and XP Embedded had autorun whatever nasty was on it.

        I wiped the drive, reinstalled everything, DISABLED AUTORUN, and told him not to use anything but new thumb drives.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: SAM Broadcaster? And the moral is...

          Sorry, but this is a competence fail rather than a Windows fail. Disabling autorun would partially mitigate the risks here, but you should have enabled the File-Based Write Filter, and allowed persistent writing only to folders where your embedded application needed to write it's data. You have other tools than the FBWF too. XP Embedded made it easy to build a system that's pretty much invulnerable, very very simply; you chose to leave it wide open.

          1. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge

            Re: SAM Broadcaster? And the moral is...

            XP Embedded made it easy to build a system that's pretty much invulnerable

            This is some kind of sicko joke, right?

            1. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: SAM Broadcaster? And the moral is...

              "This is some kind of sicko joke, right?"

              No, embedded xp can be made totally readonly using write filter.. the example mentioned previously was poorly configured by wannabe "developers" without embedded experience.

              I could make an embedded xp image that's more secure than Windows 10. It would only offer core functionality, but it would need very stable have a small footprint and be virtually bulletproof

          2. Michael Wojcik Silver badge

            Re: SAM Broadcaster? And the moral is...

            Sorry, but this is a competence fail rather than a Windows fail. Disabling autorun would partially mitigate the risks here, but you should have enabled the File-Based Write Filter, and allowed persistent writing only to folders where your embedded application needed to write it's data.

            As is perfectly obvious to everyone who writes Windows software. Just as no one ever uses "it's" when they mean "its".

            Why not tell us it's the OP's fault for dressing their application in such a provocative manner, while you're at it?

            Security by perfect vigilance. Yeah, that'll fix things.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: SAM Broadcaster? And the moral is...

        "Don't go in for an operation when the anaesthetic machine runs on a Microsoft OS....."

        Don't know why you'd think that: the NHS runs on XP...

        As a side note, hospital networks are fairly secure and update services are blocked/redirected to prevent things like this happening - the updates have to be tested and 'released' by the sysadmin before PC's can pick them up.

        So you'll probably be alright going in for an operation.

        Probably...

        1. AndrewDu

          Re: SAM Broadcaster? And the moral is...

          Hospital networks are fairly secure?

          ROTFLMAO

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: SAM Broadcaster? And the moral is...

            Yup, hospital NETWORKS are fairly secure (mandated encryption, penetration testing, network audits - the sort of thing you'd hope would be taking place to ensure patient information is kept secure).

            Users, however, aren't.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: SAM Broadcaster? Forget it.

      +1 for Rivendell and Ubuntu. We use this exclusively at Destiny 105.1 FM in Oxford for all our daytime output. Obviously on an FM station you can't have any downtime and (touch wood) it's been faultless since it was installed over two years ago. Also being open source we've been able to add our own customisations and give presenters their own copies of the system for training etc.

    4. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: SAM Broadcaster? Forget it.

      +1 for Icecast, which we ran for many years on FreeBSD.

      We streamed a radio station using a cheap second hand Sun Netra server which ran continuously for quite literally years on end. I think uptime was in excess of 3 years when we had to power it down one time to move to a new cabinet at the colo datacentre.

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    300 million infections

    Did anyone watch an episode of Equinox (Channel 4) called "The King of Chaos" which aired around 2000?

    The episode was about a media mogul, who wrote an operating system which spread around the world like a virus.

    Uncannily like Window 10 no?

    1. LDS Silver badge

      Re: 300 million infections

      "Mogul" applies perfectly to Nadella, albeit he may prefer "Maharaja". He has the same contempt for serfs customers.

      Accept the "gift" of Windows 10 and shut up.

      1. asdf Silver badge

        Re: 300 million infections

        >Accept the "gift" of Windows 10 and shut up.

        Yep you are now the product not the customer so please shut up.

    2. bombastic bob Silver badge

      Re: 300 million infections

      "Did anyone watch an episode of Equinox (Channel 4) called "The King of Chaos" which aired around 2000?"

      unfortunately, no. But I *did* see 'Kingsmen' and the big-bad offers free phone service with a 'special' feature... maybe that's what's behind Win-10-nic?

      OK not *that* but still...

      1. DougS Silver badge

        Re: 300 million .... big deal

        It has been out since last summer, and Microsoft went to great lengths to prevent OEMs from being allowed to preinstall older versions. So you can assume that almost every PC sold since it came out (modulo inventory clearing) came with Windows 10. Even with the declines in PC sales, they have still probably sold 200 million new PCs that would have come with Windows 10. So only 100 million took the bait and upgraded, and judging by Windows 7 & 8 market share almost all of them were Windows 8/8.1 users.

        Can hardly blame those saddled with Windows 8 for upgrading, as going from 8 to 10 actually is an upgrade, while 7 to 10 is definitely not.

        1. art guerrilla

          Re: 300 million .... big deal

          yeps, exactly...

          wife running win 8 on a new laptop, got fooled into upgrading, fortunately, her needs are so minimal -web browsing, email, word, etc- that it has had little effect, other than the strange interface where she can't find anything anymore, minor stuff like that...

          my laptop, a year or so old, got the stupid nags so often, i gave up and went to install win 10 against my better judgment... takes a half day to download the crap, then tells me my system isn't compatible ? ? ?

          WTF ? terabyte drive, mainstream AMD processor, 8 gigs ram, runs win 8.1, and it isn't 'compatible' ?

          well, ultimately, i was never so happy to be incompatible, but at the time, it was WTF micro$oft ? ? ?

          1. Montreal Sean

            Re: 300 million .... big deal

            Weird about your laptop.

            I installed Win10 Pro on an old Dell Precision 390 to see what it was like.

            Core2duo 2.4GHz, 8 gigs of RAM and an old 1 gig ATI Radeon card.

            It ran. Wouldn't say it ran quickly, but it was passable.

            For the 2 days until I reinstalled Linux Mint.

        2. asdf Silver badge

          Re: 300 million .... big deal

          >300 million .... big deal

          Yep sadly my PC counts (got gifted it recently) even though I boot into Windows 10 maybe one a month at most (other %99 of the time LMDE). It sucks about the time they finally have a decent OS they decide to give it terminal spyware cancer.

        3. s2bu

          Re: 300 million .... big deal

          I don't find 8.1 to be half bad... After you put Classic Shell on it!

  3. allthecoolshortnamesweretaken Silver badge

    It is ransomware - they just haven't posted the ransom notes yet. MS can afford to play the long game. Ain't no such thing as a free lunch and all that.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Windows

      Iroinc

      It's like a FREEEEEEE ride when you've already paid.

      1. MyffyW Silver badge

        Re: Iroinc

        @massivelySerial It's the black fly in your Chardonnay ... when you asked for a bottle of Barolo

    2. hplasm Silver badge
      Happy

      "It is ransomware - they just haven't posted the ransom notes yet."

      They did- but they are stuck in Exchange.

    3. Shufflemoomin

      They *have* posted the ransom notes. If you installed it during the free offer period, the license is not transferable to another PC. When you change out your motherboard, Microsoft considers that to now be a new PC and you WILL have to pay for a new license. It's already happening to people even though it's still during the free period. Microsoft say the only way to get it back for free is to install a previous version of Windows with a legit key and go through the upgrade process again. They've given it away to 300 million people for free and they *know* that those people are going to have to give them the full price at some point in the near future. It's the dodgiest move Microsoft have ever pulled.

      Anyone who doesn't believe me only has to go and dig a little. Microsoft certainly didn't trumpet this little fact but they *do* have the information out there if you want to look for it.

      1. Blank Reg Silver badge

        The vast majority of PC users don't upgrade, they replace. And they don't build, they replace with something off the shelf with the OS pre-installed, so Windows 10 will be "free" as far as they are concerned.

        1. Trigonoceps occipitalis

          Preserving Windows 10 Activation

          I regularly reload OS, say twice a year on a dual boot Win/Linux box. I have taken the free upgrade to Win 10 from Win 7. How do I reload Win 10 after 1 Aug, can I copy the activation files?

          I only run Windows for some old games so perhaps I'll just junk it at the next reload.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        not always true

        I upgraded from 8.1 to 10 on an AMD Phenom II system and then some time later replaced the motherboard, CPU and RAM as I moved to Skylake. I did have to reactivate using the 'enter lots of numbers' method, but it worked first time. Still fine over a month later.

  4. Ole Juul Silver badge

    oh boy!

    This looks like it's going to be the year of the Windows 10 desktop.

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Forgive me for not understanding how this happened

    But were these users running under an adminstrator account? If not then there is a gaping hole in windows which allows anybody to install software. If so, then they deserved what they got.

    1. Richard 12 Silver badge

      Re: Forgive me for not understanding how this happened

      Windows 7 doesn't have an administration account. (That can be logged into locally)

      It has accounts that can elevate applications to admin - similar to sudoers.

      By default, every user except the Guest account is able to elevate - unless you know how to turn that off.

      So why be surprised that almost everyone uses the default configuration?

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Forgive me for not understanding how this happened

        Oh dear, vagueties of comments combined with pendants. But if you need it spelling out, I meant that they were running under a user account as an adminstrator as opposed to a user account as a normal user.

        That they don't change defaults is neither here nor there.

        1. Stevie Silver badge

          Re: Forgive me for not understanding how this happened 4 Chris W

          Yes I see your point.

          Now let's prosecute all the Volkswagen owners for operating a vehicle in contravention to the emissions laws. You can't tell me they didn't know that their computers were jiggered and if they didn't they should rtfm and serves 'em right.

          What?

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Forgive me for not understanding how this happened @Stevie

            That is the most idiotic analogy I've seen for quite some time. How to use something and knowing about corporate deception hidden in the depths of the code are quite different.

        2. Sorry that handle is already taken. Silver badge
          Headmaster

          @ Chris W (Re: Forgive me for not understanding how this happened)

          Oh dear, vagueties of comments combined with pendants.

          Vagaries and pedants (presumably).

          .

          Sincerely

          A pedant

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: @ Chris W (Forgive me for not understanding how this happened)

            @Sorry that handle is already taken.

            I actually did see that, chuckled to myself and left it, after all, no knowing what might happen if you break the laws of the internet.

      2. Ransoman

        Re: Forgive me for not understanding how this happened

        Unless of course some dozey bugger disables user account control because "it just gets in the way" or "I don't like it". I work in IT support and meet a lot of people like that, even some of my own collegues!!

        Sometimes even explaining to them how it works and why turning it off is a very bad idea isn't enough!

        1. s2bu

          Re: Forgive me for not understanding how this happened

          That would be me. UAC gets disabled immediately and the "Administrator" user gets reenabled and renamed to me. It's my internal BOFH.

    2. riparian zone

      Re: Forgive me for not understanding how this happened

      show me an average user that knows how to set up a standard account, and then ask them how/why they know. Your judgement call is unwarranted.

    3. 1Rafayal

      Re: Forgive me for not understanding how this happened

      @Chris W

      Dont question, this is an MS hate article.

      Just accept, nod politely and move on.

      1. ecofeco Silver badge

        Re: Forgive me for not understanding how this happened

        You make hating something that is a fucked up piece of shit sound bad.

      2. Joe User

        Re: Forgive me for not understanding how this happened

        1Rafayal: Dont question, this is an MS hate article.

        Why yes, this is an MS hate article. We, Microsoft's customers, hate being treated like doormats and having MS walk all over us.

        1. waldo kitty
          Facepalm

          Re: Forgive me for not understanding how this happened

          Why yes, this is an MS hate article. We, Microsoft's customers, hate being treated like doormats and having MS walk all over us.

          if one is tired of being walked all over, they need to get out of the traffic path... vote with your feet and leave m$ holding its sack...

          no animosity, down putting or ugliness intended... just stating facts...

      3. raving angry loony

        Re: Forgive me for not understanding how this happened

        By your definition anything that honestly describes Microsoft policies, or honestly describes Microsoft software failures, is a "Microsoft hate article".

        Let me guess, you work for their marketing dept?

    4. ecofeco Silver badge

      Re: Forgive me for not understanding how this happened

      Nick Burns, is that you?

    5. Fluffy Cactus

      Re: Forgive me for not understanding how this happened

      I understand how stuff happens. Someone clicks on something to see what that thing does. And as a completely ignorant person I can see how that might be a problem.

      The other thing is: After suffering through various Microsoft updates, MS Security updates, and MS upgrades, (3.1, 95, 98, XP) I have learned, from experience, that one has to set the automatic update on Windows 7 to the setting "Do not download or install updates, let me decide whether to download and install'. Because I want to see what trouble other people run into by installing unproven, untested, undebugged updates from Microsoft. That saves me a lot of trouble.

      After that, MS did trick me into installing KB4952664. That's the one that seems to put the little "upgrade to windows 10 thingi" on the thing called a "Taskbar". So, I uninstalled that, and when I look for updates, I have to uncheck that thing KB2952664 in the update list each time. Even though I uncheck it, it checks itself again. I know it by heart now, the good old KB2952664 trickster, the way I know my own phone number. It helps to actually click on the "More information" button for each and every Win update, to see

      what it is, and whether it has "issues", and whether it looks "suspicious" simply from the file names being

      used in it. Because, so far,software programmers do have to name their files in a way that tells them what each file does, and that way you can guess that the item called "Appraiser..." or "Telemetry3000" or whatever, is something that phones home early and often and makes you do things you don't want to

      do, at least not now, at least not yet. That's how I keep Satan-Nutella out of my fairly frazzled registry.

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