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Warning for millions of Microsoft Windows 10 users




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Windows 10 has enough problems to deal with at the moment but Microsoft's partners just have things left Much worse.

Windows 10 users are exposed to a worrying new vulnerability.

Steve Kotecki

Gizmodo approved California security firm SafeBreach revealed that millions of users pre-installed on PCs were exposed to hackers. In addition, this estimate is conservative, as the number is realistically set at hundreds of millions.

The error lies in PC-Doctor Toolbox a system analysis software released by some of the world's largest computer retailers, including Dell, the Alienware gaming brand Staples and Korsar. Dell alone shipped nearly 60 million PCs last year, and the company claims that most PCs had the PC-Doctor Toolbox (renamed as part of SupportAssist) preinstalled.

SafeBreach has detected a fatal bug that allowed attackers to exchange harmless DLL files that were loaded during the Toolbox diagnostic search with DLLs containing malicious user data. Entering this code affects both Windows 10 business and home PCs, and allows hackers to gain complete control of their computer.

What makes it so dangerous is that PC manufacturers give the toolbox access to all of your computer's hardware and software so that it can be monitored. The software can even assign new, higher levels of privilege, if deemed necessary. As soon as malicious code is introduced via the toolbox, it can do almost anything on your PC.

Dell SupportAssist has an integrated PC-Doctor Toolbox and ships on 10 million PCs every year.

Dell

Even worse, PC makers are currently playing a game of Whack-A-Mole to make Toolbox more secure. SafeBreach reported that there were bugs in the toolbox in April and Dell released a patch to fix it. Now SafeBreach has found more vulnerabilities and it is highly unlikely that these will be the last.

The end result is that many Windows 10 users exposed to this issue probably do not even know they have it because who actually uses pre-installed bloatware? Therefore, I would advise browsing your computer to uninstall it. Dell builds it into SupportAssist, Corsair calls it "One Diagnostics" or just "Diagnostics", Staples calls it "Easy Tech Diagnostics", Tobii calls it "I-Series / Dynavox Diagnostic Tools" and it'll inevitably give more to your research ,

Another tip: I would also recommend anyone who buys a new PC to format the computer in the first step and reinstall Windows. You should have control over which programs are running on your PC. If you do not know how to do this, look for a family member, friend, or colleague who does this.

Did Microsoft deserve the blame? Ultimately, it is helpless to prevent PC makers from pre-installing everything they want on Windows computers, even if it compromises their security, and this is something that drives people to other platforms. It's frustrating, but this level of partnership has made Windows a global hit in the first place.

However, it is also what makes Microsoft's recent promise of more control, quality, and transparency not only worryingly complex but also extremely difficult to meet.

___

Follow Gordon on Twitter and Facebook

Learn more about Forbes

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Windows 10 has Enough Problems to deal with but Microsoft's partners only made things worse.

Windows 10 Users Are Subject to a Worrying New Vulnerability

Steve Kotecki

Gizmodo approved California security firm SafeBreach revealed that millions of users pre-installed on PCs were exposed to hackers. In addition, this estimate is conservative, as the number is realistically set at hundreds of millions.

The error lies in PC-Doctor Toolbox a system analysis software released by some of the world's largest computer retailers, including Dell, the Alienware gaming brand Staples and Korsar. Dell alone shipped nearly 60 million PCs last year, and the company claims that most PCs had the PC-Doctor Toolbox (renamed as part of SupportAssist) preinstalled.

SafeBreach has detected a fatal bug that allowed attackers to exchange harmless DLL files that were loaded during the Toolbox diagnostic search with DLLs containing malicious user data. Entering this code affects both Windows 10 business and home PCs, and allows hackers to gain complete control of their computer.

What makes it so dangerous is that PC manufacturers give the toolbox access to all of your computer's hardware and software so that it can be monitored. The software can even assign new, higher levels of privilege, if deemed necessary. Once malicious code has been injected through the toolbox, it can do just about anything on your PC.

Dell SupportAssist has an integrated PC-Doctor Toolbox and ships with 10 million PCs every year.

Dell

Even worse, PC makers are currently playing a game of Whack-A-Mole to make Toolbox more secure. SafeBreach reported that there were bugs in the toolbox in April and Dell released a patch to fix it. Now SafeBreach has found more vulnerabilities and it is highly unlikely that these will be the last.

The end result is that many Windows 10 users exposed to this issue probably do not even know they have it because who actually uses pre-installed bloatware? Therefore, I would advise browsing your computer to uninstall it. Dell builds it into SupportAssist, Corsair calls it "One Diagnostics" or just "Diagnostics", Staples calls it "Easy Tech Diagnostics", Tobii calls it "I-Series / Dynavox Diagnostic Tools" and it'll inevitably give more to your research ,

Another tip: I would also recommend anyone who buys a new PC to format the computer in the first step and reinstall Windows. You should have control over which programs are running on your PC. If you do not know how to do this, look for a family member, friend, or colleague who does this.

Did Microsoft deserve the blame? Ultimately, it is helpless to prevent PC makers from pre-installing everything they want on Windows computers, even if it compromises their security, and this is something that drives people to other platforms. It's frustrating, but this level of partnership has made Windows a global hit in the first place.

However, it is also what makes Microsoft's recent promise of more control, quality, and transparency not only worryingly complex but also extremely difficult to meet.

___

Follow Gordon on Twitter and Facebook

Learn more about Forbes

Microsoft issues Windows 10 Update Warning "Black Screen" [MicrosoftWarnsWindows10Update"Intentional"InterruptionofSomeBluetoothDevices

Windows 10 Repeats New Vulnerability

Microsoft's New Windows 10 Upgrades: A Serious Warning

Windows 10 Issue Affects Chrome Performance

]

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