Operating a Bitcoin wallet on your computer or mobile device is one of the easiest ways to keep control over your funds at any given time. One thing that is often overlooked, though, is that all of these devices run on an operating system that might not be as secure as the everyday consumer would like. In the worst case scenario, users leak all kinds of personal and privacy information. The recent Windows 10 release increases the amount of leaked information, as it tries to learn as much about its users as possible.
As soon as the Windows 10 update was announced, it became clear that most people would become eligible for a free upgrade. That news was quite a surprise, especially considering that illegal copies of Windows 7,8 or 8.1 would get the same free upgrade in an attempt to make it a “legal” version of Windows 10.
Furthermore, Microsoft has never provided a free update of their operating system before, as previous editions always came at a cost. That being said, the availability period for this free upgrade will only last one year from the Windows 10 release date. After that period has ended, users willing to upgrade will have to pay for their Windows 10 licenses.
So far, the general feedback from Windows 10 users is positive. The new operating system seems to be bug-free, although it is still a bit early to tell, and runs rather smoothly compared to its predecessors. Additionally, there were no issues reported with installing drivers for various types of hardware, and all peripherals are supported on the new platform as well.
As you would come to expect in this day and age, there is no such thing as getting something legal for free. Windows 10 is a free upgrade for existing users, but it comes at a cost as far as user privacy is concerned. Ars Technica recently released an article on the standard privacy settings in Windows 10, and how they can be changed to grant more data protection for the end user.
None of these standard privacy settings are of real worry to end users, as there is no information on logging keystrokes [for malicious purposes] or what type of applications are being installed on the device itself. However, that does not mean that such privacy settings could not be introduced in the future. Government officials around the world want to know every little shred of information about their citizens, and the everyday person’s computer behavior tells a lot about them in real life.
The information being logged by Windows 10 is explained in a very vague matter, even though the logged keystrokes indicate it is just for auto-completion and spelling purposes. Additionally, the “Getting To Know You” feature does not specify what type of data is being collected, except for “typing history.” To this date, it remains unclear as to what information this could entail, or what Microsoft is planning to do with it in terms of “product improvement.” Sensitive fields are being scrubbed out of the data gathering process though, and all data samplings are colelcted in limited fashion.
Privacy settings of the operating systems consumers use are of particular worry these days, as there are rumours circulating regarding government officials forcing manufacturers to enable backdoors in their hardware and software. Should this plan ever come to fruition – and we can only hope it won’t – operating systems will be among the first types of software to enable these backdoors.
At this time, it remains unclear as to how these software backdoors would be used. If a consumer is running a Bitcoin client on their device, will the government be able to see the process, or perhaps even be able to access the funds. The possibilities are limitless at this time, which is all the more reason to be very careful with what operating system is installed on a device.
For the time being, there is nothing to worry about just yet when it comes to operating Windows 10 or any other operating system. The next few months and years will be very important to keep an eye from a consumer perspective, as privacy protection is on the brink of disappearing altogether.
What are your thoughts on Windows 10 and the possibility of software backdoors in operating systems? Let us know in the comments below!
Images courtesy of Microsoft, Shutterstock and Keepcalm-o-matic UK
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