Windows 10 Privacy Issues

If you use a Windows computer at all, you’ve probably seen that annoying little pop-up message that keeps reminding you that Windows 10 is coming. Windows 10 is a free upgrade for most people and Microsoft is clearly banking on most people taking the Trojan horse free software. Microsoft is also counting on most people to just use the “express install” option – that is, take all the Microsoft-chosen default settings. I’m here to tell you: DON’T DO THAT.

Microsoft has really gone overboard with privacy-threatening features in this release, and it appears that most of them are on by default. When I write the second edition of my book, I’ll have a full explanation of how to guard your privacy on Windows 10. But here are some quick recommendations.

NOTE: If you can wait to install Windows 10, then by all means wait. We will learn more things about it in the coming weeks and months, and security and privacy experts will get a chance to learn what’s really going on and hopefully figure out how to fix the problems. And if there’s enough uproar, perhaps Microsoft will even dial back on some of these privacy-invading features. But if you can’t wait, or if you’ve already installed it, here are a few key tips.

  1. Don’t use the Express Install option. Customize your install and read over every option.
  2. Don’t sign into Windows with your Microsoft account. This allows Microsoft to associate all sorts of info and activities with you, and share it with others. Just use a local account.
  3. Don’t use Cortana. Yeah, it’s really cool, but by enabling this one feature, you open yourself up to all sorts of spying by your operating system and Microsoft. Until they can address security and privacy concerns, this feature is just too scary.
  4. Don’t use WiFi-Sense. This is a new feature which conveniently lets you share your WiFi password with people you know. This means syncing them to the cloud, which to me invites security risks that aren’t worth the convenience.

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