back to article Microsoft admits to disabling third-party antivirus code if Win 10 doesn't like it

Windows 10 does disable some third-party security software, Microsoft has admitted, but because of compatibility – not competitive – issues. Redmond is currently being investigated in the EU, Germany and Russia over alleged anti-competitive behavior because it bundles the Windows Defender security suite into its latest …

LDS
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"Building a Hackintosh is very easy these days"

And still quite not legal, I guess... and while bedroom/basement users may not care, professional users have to.

It's also interesting people believe it's ok to counter MS bad behavious - and possibly illegal - with other bad behaviours, possibly illegal. After all, you're not better than MS, and, if working for it, you would act the same ugly way.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Admission

Control. It's all about control.

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Re: Heading for Mac Land

I've looked it up a few times.

It's not quite as simple as you say. You need to do your homework still and kludge a few things.

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Re: Admission

"I'm a long time Win 7 user. If Apple sort out their hardware line up I'll be heading for Mac land when 7 drops off support."

I'm sorry, it's hard to take anyone seriously when they say 'Microsoft are being too controlling over which software I can install, I'm off to Apple land'.

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Facepalm

"Defender doesn't make MS any money... "

YET.

FTFY

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Re: Admission

Similarly, there's no great reason for MS to remove things like Speccy, Classic Shell, or CCleaner. They don't have competing products for any of those things.

Sure, they don't have competing services, but let's examine the culprits:

- Classic Shell make WinX usable

- Speccy will show you how much bloat there's built in WinX

- CCleaner will remove all those interesting logs just waiting to be slurped.

Any sane company would want these kind of programs removed.

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Re: Admission

@Naselus

"I'm sorry, it's hard to take anyone seriously when they say 'Microsoft are being too controlling over which software I can install, I'm off to Apple land'."

Oooooooh...! MacOS demands an Admin password to install software downloaded from the internet! How horribly nannyish of them! <eyeroll>

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Re: "Building a Hackintosh is very easy these days"

Hackintosh legality depends on your country. I can, for example, support them but not sell them. Over the border in Germany, you can sell them.

In general, Apple doesn't care even if you use it professionally so long as a) you buy a licence and b) you don't sell boxen at retail. They are quite aware that hackies are not going to affect their sales, but pissing off hardware fiddlers is going to lead to bad press.

Depnding on the client, they are either blown away by the hackintosh, since it's pretty much a decently specced whitebox PC without BS marget segmentatio, so you get a lot of grunt without breaking the bank. Or the clients hate it, because it's not stylish.

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Re: "Building a Hackintosh is very easy these days"

I have on occasion set up Hackintosh VMs, but mainly to maintain familiarity with how the OS works. While mildly entertaining, I haven't found anything particularly exciting about it to switch any of my Linux boxes to MacOS (since that's what all my machines run now). I could probably fiddle with it and make it adequately functional, but I could do that with MSWindows just as easily. So I'll stick with my Linux systems that already work the way I want.

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Trollface

Re: Admission

Any sane company would want these kind of programs removed.

That'd let the current version of MS off the hook then wouldn't it?

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Megaphone

One software vendor to rule them all...

One software vendor to rule them all...

One windows to find them

One Version (10) to BRING THEM ALL

And with FORCED UPDATES, *BIND* *THEM*

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If you don't live in Russia, you don't want to be using Kaspersky Antivirus. The Russian government has full access to their software, there is nothing the company can do about it (short of executives being arrested).

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That level of paranoia would mean you couldn't trust ANY software EVER because it can be subverted any number of ways. That includes open-source software which can be either subtly subverted or simply usurped.

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Anonymous Coward

If you don't live in Russia, you don't want to be using Kaspersky Antivirus. The Russian government has full access to their software, there is nothing the company can do about it (short of executives being arrested).

sed -e 's/Russia/U.S.A./g' -e 's/Russian/American/' -e 's/Kaspersky Antivirus/Windows/'

Ah. Feeling better already ;P

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I would take that to mean that only people who don't live in Russia _should_ use Kaspersky. What do I care if the Russian government has my personal data? They're not going to use what they learned to fabricate some nonsense about how I must be a terrorist or criminal and come arrest me when I am not in Russia. My own country may do that to me, but they're not getting that information from Kaspersky. They'd get it from Microsoft or Google, which are about a million times worse.

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@Jonathan

So that's where all the free vodka I've been getting comes from, awesome! ;)

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It's not paranoia, the Russian government has already been caught hiding things in Kaspersky's products. Using software controlled by nation states in an adversarial role to your own is a terrible idea.

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I disable win10s anti virus, defender, firewall, app compatibility, malicous app etc etc services

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@ Zmodem

One more push- disable Windows...

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Thumb Down

Pushing Edge

Windows 10 is naggy in a lot of regards (it seldom tires of saying how good Edge is), but proving it’s anti-competitive will be a very big chasm to cross.

That nagging is anti-competitive in itself. EU needs to revisit the browser bundling issue.

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Re: Pushing Edge

I also note you can't remove edge. You can now theoretically remove IE, but win 10 has a hissy fit. To add insult to injury, I can't even get into the "Cortana" folder, let alone uninstall the thing.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Pushing Edge

I noticed that Edge kept trying to take over display of PDF files from Acrobat [that may or may not be a good thing depending upon your point of view.]

But yes, Edge cannot be removed, neither can the Media Player, nor Cortana or any of this other tripe foisted on an unsuspecting Windows 10 user. Completely agree with the 'they've had the past 25 years to sort this argument.'

O365 is just a low point of resistance to generate a revenue stream that never gets turned off - the big lesson M$ found from X.Box live, 60 million people paying £60 a year is a LOT of share price propping revenue. Same applies to O365. Mugs.

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Anonymous Coward

People make there own choices

There is no illusion that MS produces quality software. Decades of Windows shite doesn't seem to be improving. It's like we should be rejoicing that W10 actually works - it's supposed to.

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"we first temporarily disabled some parts of the AV software"

Surely that is a weakness baked right into the OS? Because if the OS can launch that call, surely other software can too, which will defeat any Anti Malware application that sits above it?

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Re: "we first temporarily disabled some parts of the AV software"

The OS can do anything. "Other" software has to play within the permissions granted by the OS.

Well, actually, no. As regular readers of this publication will know, other applications can simply send an appropriate message to the secret web server baked into the CPU and tell the OS to go fsck itself.

But in an ideal world ... just because the OS can do something doesn't mean that anyone else can.

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"For the small number of applications that still needed updating, we built a feature just for AV apps that would prompt the customer to install a new version of their AV app right after the update completed.”

So Windows is putting up an ad *telling* users to buy a new version of Kaspersky, and Kaspersky are still unhappy. Sheesh!

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So Windows is putting up an ad *telling* users to buy a new version of Kaspersky, and Kaspersky are still unhappy. Sheesh!

My thoughts as well - while I'll more than happily bash Microsoft, this "your 3rd party AV software is out of date, we suggest that you update it (and here's a link as to how to)" functionality is generally a good idea. It wouldn't take much to push it towards promoting Microsoft's own services at the exlusion of others but as it is, it's most likely a good thing. Likewise, Microsoft's helping out by covering any gaps in AV support automatically is generally a good idea, particularly when you consider that, unlike the pagmatic techie bunch that lurk here, the majority of computer users really don't care, and in many ways shouldn't have to, and just want their PC to continue acting as a word processor, web browser, video player and game platform. As long as the transition is clear and above board, this is also likely to be a good thing.

Unfortunately most of us here have been on the receiving end of, or observed, Microsoft's considerably less than noble actions in the past... Abuse of trust is not an easy thing to forget or forgive.

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It doesn't help that the popup is over keen as well, turning up a few seconds after boot up, warning that the AV client is out of date, this before the AV client has even managed to check online for updates (which it completed a few seconds later)!

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Unhappy

"Microsoft is trying the same trick," "Redmond is ready to fight such claims. "

As it always was.

Microsoft has no friends in the software business. Only competitors to destroy or consume

anti virus represents another niche for them to colonize.

Although TBF to MS they basically created the AV business in the first place.

With their ongoing inability to write secure code. 2017 and still with the stack overflows?

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FAIL

Microsoft: from vindictive to cack-handed...

In its now usual cack-handed fashion Microsoft is possibly attempting to do the right thing here. We know AV software digs deep into Windows, patching hardened APIs and pulling all sorts of nefarious tricks to get itself embedded. To me, that is now an unacceptable risk. If Microsoft is spending time adding parameter validation and hardening the Windows kernel only to have that undermined by an AV tool patching and hacking it all away, then that AV tool needs to be blocked. If an AV tool can patch its way in to intercept whole families of calls, so can a virus.

But Microsoft is its own worst enemy here. The security model they introduced with NT was exceptionally fine grained, and so exceptionally complex. This baffled Windows developers who at the time were used to either a call succeeding or the machine crashing. So Microsoft had us run everything as Administrators and a generation of developers was let off the hook. Unix has a far simpler model, and, thanks to the success of Linux, had to quickly grow under very watchful eyes, whereas Microsoft bolted more and more cruft on: DRM, trust zones, group policies, the .net security model and code signing, assemblies, registry key security and more. Who the hell really understands how all of that interacts? It's no wonder that even now, the security model is badly and inconsistently applied by developers. Much easier to ask for everything.

Now the era of Gates and Ballmer is over (and thank God for that), Microsoft is far less vindictive; but SadNad has replaced the vindictive drive with lumbering cack-handedness and incompetence instead. Not really much of an evolution.

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Re: Microsoft: from vindictive to cack-handed...

In its now usual cack-handed fashion Microsoft is possibly attempting to do the right thing here. We know AV software digs deep into Windows, patching hardened APIs and pulling all sorts of nefarious tricks to get itself embedded. To me, that is now an unacceptable risk. If Microsoft is spending time adding parameter validation and hardening the Windows kernel only to have that undermined by an AV tool patching and hacking it all away, then that AV tool needs to be blocked. If an AV tool can patch its way in to intercept whole families of calls, so can a virus.

Quite.

If third-party AV products are capable of burrowing deeply enough into Windows to carry out their function, without Windows detecting and preventing this, then third-party malware can do the same.

Which leaves us with a quandry -- we'd like Windows to be hardened to the point at which the malware cannot run, but we'd also like to able to run third-party AV tools. The two are not compatible goals.

The answer may be for Microsoft to produce an official AV Tool API that the third-party AV vendors can use, with some validity checking (code-signing, etc) so that only approved AV Tool vendors can use the API ... but that would need to be done very carefully, as errors in the API validation could lead to a very bad exploit.

(Oh, but I make it sound so simple! In reality each vendor would want a different API with a different set of functions, and Microsoft would end up providing an API that had not quite all the functionality that any of them wanted ... probably with an unforeseen exploit arising from a combination of features requested by different vendors. It is software, after all.)

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Re: Microsoft: from vindictive to cack-handed...

"Now the era of Gates and Ballmer is over (and thank God for that), Microsoft is far less vindictive;"

The Ballmer era gave us Windows XP and Windows 7, both far better than the monstrosity we are being force-fed now.

I don't see MS as less vindictive. They've just changed their target from their competitors to their users. They're just as hostile and aggressive as ever, only now they're directing that aggression at the very customers they need to remain in business. Now they're incompetent AND vindictive.

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Re: Microsoft: from vindictive to cack-handed...

"The Ballmer era gave us Windows XP and Windows 7"

Plus Windows ME and Vista, Linux FUD and the Business Software Alliance goon squad.

Buuuut, we were always at war with Oceania, right? ☺

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Re: Microsoft: from vindictive to cack-handed...

"The answer may be for Microsoft to produce an official AV Tool API that the third-party AV vendors can use, with some validity checking (code-signing, etc) so that only approved AV Tool vendors can use the API ... but that would need to be done very carefully, as errors in the API validation could lead to a very bad exploit."

Thats how it already works.

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Linux

Windows 10???

What is this "Windows 10" of which you speak?

Is it some kind of virus?

Returns smugly to his Gnome 2 desktop -- what's this? Gnome 3? Aaaarrrggghhh--

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Linux "pushers" again

The best thing that could happen to enable Linux on the desktop is to get MS Office on the desktop - Windows prevalence is about the applications not the OS.

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Re: Linux "pushers" again

Well, either that or say Overwatch (natively, you can get banned for using WINE on Battle.net), enough to steal a professional gaming sponsorship or two.

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TVU
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Re: Linux "pushers" again

I would be surprised if the otherwise pragmatic Satya Nadella brought MS Office to Linux. However, you can use Softmaker Office, FreeOffice, WPS Office, OnlyOffice and MS' own free Office Online apps instead.

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Re: Linux "pushers" again

None of the software you've listed has all the functionality of MS Office in one package.

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Stop

Re: Linux "pushers" again

True - but for well over 80% of my organisations users, something that delivered about 20% of the core functionality of Excel and Word would be FAR MORE than adequate...

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Re: Linux "pushers" again

Agreed, Word and Excel compatibles would be okay for a lot of our customers too (they would have to be *very* compatible mind), however, there is no Outlook or Power Point and the Outlook compatibles (admittedly I've not looked at all Outlook compatibles) are lacking in some way or other whether it be a calendar or whatever.

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Re: Linux "pushers" again

> None of the software you've listed has all the functionality of MS Office in one package.

Very true. Equally true is that I've never yet met a company that uses all the functionality of MS Office.

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Devil

Re: Linux "pushers" again

"something that delivered about 20% of the core functionality of Excel and Word would be FAR MORE than adequate"

Libre Office manages that quite nicely. And runs on winders, too.

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Re: Linux "pushers" again

It is not about the applications.

It is about consistency. First on the running of the application (by extension it's install). Secondly on the user interface.

Linus and the likes generally have the user interface down. However 90% of people (I assume) are 100% invested in GUI being *exactly* the same. And most alternatives are 90-99% the same at best. People don't want to invest in "learning" the new GUI... unless tricked by the "new is better" next version of Windows/Office (where your already invested, but with Linux it was free, so can chuck it out... try telling your boss to chuck out that £/$300 office licence they wasted on a Ribbon GUI upgrade!).

Linux also, while being great at installing programs and getting dependencies, is more likely to not like your particular audio/graphics/etc setup. Where as Windows seems to somehow blur over any of those problems (I'm not sure if it has them or not, but they seem less noticed) and things "just work".

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Linux "pushers" again

"Very true. Equally true is that I've never yet met a company that uses all the functionality of MS Office."

But they more often than not use ENOUGH. AND they tend to use the stuff that's unique to MS Office such as macros/code. Until someone can find a painless way to translate that code to LibreOffice, along with other complaints such as formatting gaffs, people won't be willing to jump since that code is what lets them get through the day.

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Re: Linux "pushers" again

"Linus and the likes generally have the user interface down. However 90% of people (I assume) are 100% invested in GUI being *exactly* the same."

The same as what version, though? Windows doesn't even offer a GUI that is exactly the same as the previous version of Windows. One of the reasons I like Cinnamon on Mint so much is that it's more like Windows 7 than is any later version of Windows. MS is so determined to tack a phone interface on to the desktop, come Hell or high water...

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Sod it

time to dust off my old Amiga

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Re: Sod it

"time to dust off my old Amiga"

Ugh, if you think Microsoft is a pain to deal with, try dealing with the half dozen or so* competing companies that allegedly support Amiga Software/hardware these days. It's enough to drive you to doing computing on clay tablets with cuneiform!

*The number is always changing due to lawsuits, bankruptcies, buy outs, and just plain disappearing with with your money.

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Thumb Up

Re: Sod it

Speaking of Amiga. I have bought a computer to turn it into a WinUAE Box. I even found and bought an external Floppy(There's one already instaled), and an External HD. Now if I could just make the screenmodes more authentic!

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Pint

Seems like a very good idea...

Norton - clearly a very good idea

McAfee - obviously a good idea

Kaparskyitis - arguably a good idea

AVG - Mostly Harmless, but still bothersome

Etc.

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