JUST WHEN YOU thought Microsoft had stooped as low as it could with Updategate, along comes another low blow. This time it's an advertising payload hidden in a security patch.
First discovered by Woody Leonhard at InfoWorld, this month's KB3139929 security fix issued as part of Patch Tuesday has a trojan horse inside - KB3146449 - under the rather vague explanation of "several non-security-related fixes for Internet Explorer".
What this actually does is makes Internet Explorer display a blue banner on the new tab page which says: 'Microsoft recommends upgrading to Windows 10.'
What makes it even more spectacular is that it is in no way separate from the security patch - you uninstall the security patch or keep the ad-generating payload.
You know what, Microsoft? We're calling it. You're infecting your customers' PCs with software over which they have no control and, worse still, could actually be worse off for not installing.
Basically, this is adware. Adware is a type of virus. As such, you are now hacking your own customers. It has to stop. Every time there's a line to cross, Windows 10 seems to cross it. Microsoft, you have actually become downright evil.
We said at the time of the launch that there was something unsettling and Orwellian about the way Satya Nadella sold us Windows 10. By golly were we right.
KB3146449 doesn't appear in your update history. The only way you can tell if you've got it is the banner appearing. The only way of stopping it is not to install the update. That's megalomania.
Oh, and one more thing that Leonhard spotted. If your machine is on a domain you won't get this payload - only if you're an individual.
This means that the people with the big bucks - the corporations - have no reason to complain while the little guy gets kicked in the craw.
Remember: these aren't Windows 10 customers, so the 'well that's what you get for free' rule doesn't apply. These are the people who haven't upgraded yet, the ones who paid for the operating system.
We've asked Microsoft for comment, but the corporate excuse-bot is getting a bit tiresome now. µ
Facebook has more influence than meets the eye
Attackers could 'easily compromise' an entire company by exploiting AV security flaws
Nobody knows it, but you've got a secret smiley
Plummeting pound forces firm's hand