It’s been a difficult time at Microsoft over recent months, but not nearly as tough as Microsoft products have been on its customers.
Here at TFT, we’ve spent months dealing with two very serious bugs Microsoft bugs that have affected our software. We wrote in October about a very serious bug Microsoft introduced into Word 2016 in October and couldn’t repair until December. In late January we identified another MSFT bug, apparently a conflict between Word and Windows, that freezes some processes without warning, claiming a RunTime 6335 “organizational policy” error.
Now we have word that Windows 10 as shipped from the company, has a keylogger preset, without customer knowledge or approval, to report customers’ keystrokes back to Microsoft for storage and analysis. Keyloggers, for those who don’t recognize the term, is—according to the very first line at Wikipedia—often referred to as keylogging or keyboard capturing… the action of recording (logging) the keys struck on a keyboard, typically covertly, so that the person using the keyboard is unaware that their actions are being monitored. (emphasis added)
It gets worse. Much.
Caleb Chen, writing at Privacy News Online, reports that Windows 10 is reporting back to the Redmond mothership every single keystroke made by users on their computers, and has been doing so since the introduction of the operating system in July 2015.
Imagine. Microsoft may have stored and shared every single keystroke made on your computer or tablet at anytime over the past 18 months. Client matters, pricing memos, love letters, financial items, personnel reviews, everything.
As you know, a substantial number of our customers are in legal services, with other concentrations in finance, insurance, accounting, and medical. Anyone with an exposure to the personal privacy information of others needs to a) immediately review their own privacy policies in order to see if major weasel words need to be added to protect against legal action, b) turn the keylogger off, and c) let Microsoft know their thinking, that they’ll expect MSFT to share in their pain when clients/customers and their lawyers start paying attention to the exposure Microsoft has created.
Chen suggests two immediate steps to turn the “feature” off:
1. Go to Start, then select Settings > Privacy > General.
2. Turn off Send Microsoft info about how I write to help us improve typing and writing in the future.
For more detailed information, you can also refer to PC World’s Answer Line.