Windows 10 Accidentally Open-Sourced

What happens when 32 terabytes of source code gets leaked? I wonder how many people have to pay for something like this. According to statista there’s at least 114K employees since 2016 so I imagine the number has climbed a little bit and maybe about 30% of those employees will be reamed in when someone figures out that 32 terabytes of Windows et al. source code has been leaked.

Some may be able to recall back in 2004 when some of the source code for Windows 2000 was leaked and analyzed. Microsoft went on to say that “it is illegal to post it, make it available to others, download it or use it,” and that, “Microsoft will take all appropriate legal actions to protect its intellectual property.” Not much came of that except that the source of the leak was traced back a third party called Mainsoft.

Now, I’ll admit the title was a little clickbaity, but of course more readers means more discussion, so let’s get into the meat of this thing. What’s been leaked is the Shared Source Kit which is essentially, “the source to the base Windows 10 hardware drivers plus Redmond’s PnP code, its USB and Wi-Fi stacks, its storage drivers, and ARM-specific OneCore kernel code,” along with other various official and private installation images.

The issue with this source code being released all at once is that anybody who has time to spare or whose job is to do so can pour over and analyze the code for vulnerabilities and promptly exploit them. This leaves the more than 14 million Windows 10 installations (2015) completely vulnerable if anyone doesn’t disclose their found security holes. This leak comes after several Wikileaks releases detailing the tools that the NSA had that could be used to organize cyberattacks on agencies from other countries and the following WannaCry attack on the NHS.

Among the casualties (leaked builds) are the Mobile Adaptation Kit for Windows 10, which allows Windows 10 to be ported to various mobile devices, as well as “top-secret” builds of Windows 10 and Windows Server 2016.

Ever since Microsoft’s former CEO stepped down and new leadership figure Satya Nadella stepped up it seems that Microsoft has been consistently dropping the ball. Some CNET reviews could back that up as well with users citing their experience as less than satisfactory and many users being absolutely frustrated with the fact that updates are so forcibly installed and that users are being upgraded to Windows 10 without warning. While many users are pleased with the return to the desktop and not being forced to use the start screen interface, they are so surely annoyed by the many ways that ads are being served to them through the operating system. If that’s not enough for you to be dissuaded from using Windows 10, then check out all the information that it collects about you leaving you with only some or no privacy in the case of default configuration.

If you’re still not convinced and want to buy Windows 10 anyway, click here (aff) to buy it on USB flash drive in English or French from Amazon.

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