Windows 8 Will Have a “Kill Switch”


The very anticipated operating system Windows 8 will have a feature that was never found on PC’s before: A kill switch that can remotely delete software and edit code without the user’s permission. Although Microsoft claims the switch would only be used for software that is downloaded from its app store, no official policies clearly define the actual purpose of the kill switch. In other words, nothing is truly considered “illegal” and that includes issues regarding spying, censorship and free speech. Although the kill switch is promoted as a “tool against malware” it can potentially accomplish much, much more. In fact, it would not be impossible to have all smart-phones and Windows PC’s simultaneously shut down at any given time. The following article from Business Week also mentions the infamous case of Amazon that remotely deleted from user’s Kindle e-readers illegal copies of two books. Which ones? Prepare for intense irony…George Orwell’s 1984 and Animal Farm.


The Kill Switch Comes to the PC

A feature common in phones will let Microsoft remotely disable malware

Janne Kytömäki, a Finnish software developer, was cruising Google’s (GOOG) Android Market for smartphone apps last year when he noticed something strange. Dozens of best-selling applications suddenly listed the same wrong publisher. It was as if Stephen King’s name had vanished from the covers of his books, replaced by an unknown author. Kytömäki realized the culprit was a piece of malware that was spreading quickly, and he posted his findings online.

Google responded swiftly. It flipped a little-known kill switch, reaching into more than 250,000 infected Android smartphones and forcibly removing the malicious code. “It was sort of unreal, watching something like that unfold,” says Kytömäki, who makes dice simulator apps. Kill switches are a standard part of most smartphones, tablets, and e-readers. Google, Apple (AAPL), and Amazon (AMZN) all have the ability to reach into devices to delete illicit content or edit code without users’ permission. It’s a powerful way to stop threats that spread quickly, but it’s also a privacy and security land mine.

With the rollout of the Windows 8 operating system expected later this year, millions of desktop and laptop PCs will get kill switches for the first time. Microsoft (MSFT) hasn’t spoken publicly about its reasons for including this capability in Windows 8 beyond a cryptic warning that it might be compelled to use it for legal or security reasons. The feature was publicized in a widely cited Computerworld article in December when Microsoft posted the terms of use for its new application store, a feature in Windows 8 that will allow users to download software from a Microsoft-controlled portal. Windows smartphones, like those of its competitors, have included kill switches for several years, though software deletion “is a last resort, and it’s uncommon,” says Todd Biggs, director of product management for Windows Phone Marketplace.

Microsoft declined to answer questions about the kill switch in Windows 8 other than to say it will only be able to remove or change applications downloaded through the new app store. Any software loaded from a flash drive, DVD, or directly from the Web will remain outside Microsoft’s control. Still, the kill switch is a tool that could help Microsoft prevent mass malware infections. “For most users, the ability to remotely remove apps is a good thing,” says Charlie Miller, a researcher with the security company Accuvant.

The history of kill switches on smartphones and e-readers suggests they’re double-edged swords for the companies that wield them. In 2009, Amazon reached into users’ Kindles to delete e-book copies of George Orwell’s 1984 and Animal Farm that had been sold by a publisher without the necessary rights. The ensuing backlash caused Amazon Chief Executive Officer Jeff Bezos to call the move “stupid, thoughtless, and painfully out of line with our principles.”

The reluctance of tech companies to set explicit policies for when they will and will not use kill switches contributes to the fear they’ll be abused. Civil rights and free speech advocates worry that tech companies could be pressured by governments to delete software or data for political reasons. “You have someone who has absolute control over my hard drive in ways I may have never anticipated or consented to,” says Eric Goldman, director of the High Tech Law Institute at Santa Clara University’s law school in California. “If they use that power wisely, they actually make my life better. We don’t know if they use the power wisely. In fact, we may never know when they use their power at all.”

Hiroshi Lockheimer, Google’s vice president of Android engineering, says the search company reserves the use of the kill switch for “really egregious, really obvious cases” of harmful content. Microsoft’s Biggs says the company has used the functionality in its smartphones only for “technical issues and content issues.” Apple declined to comment. Amazon did not respond to several messages.

Like many in his profession, Kevin Mahaffey, co-founder of the San Francisco startup Lookout, which makes security software for smartphones, expresses mixed emotions about the emergence of kill switches. “The remote removal tools are very much a response to the mistakes of the PC era,” he says. “Whether or not it’s an overcorrection, I think history will tell us. It can be done right, but we as an industry need to tread carefully. It’s easy to imagine several dystopian futures that can arise from this.”

One supporter is Janne Kytömäki, the Finn who discovered the Android malware outbreak. He says Google did the right thing by deleting the malware without users’ permission. “What was the alternative?” he says. “Leave those apps installed on 200,000 people’s mobiles? This is something that had to be done.”

– Source: Business Week



    • Yes, change certainly is inevitable, and the only constant in the universe.

      But, did you ever wonder why "change" in recent times always seems to go in favor of the ruling elite and against our individual liberties? More taxes, more debt, more police state, more wealth and power for the wealthy and powerful – and less of everything for everyone else.

      It's not rocket science to figure out that equation.

      • LVB,

        As you rightfully noted, the question at hand doesn't really require a co plex anwer. Nonetheless, what do YOU think is the ultimate goal of all these varied yet distinct strategies to centre the World around a 'chosen' few ? Do you think that behind the why of the why of the why is really just a spititual battle between good and evil, with all the issues such as money, power, fame, sex and control being convenient smokescreens for something more sinister, grave and divinely foreseen ?

        It's sad really, that technology and the need to be 'independent and free and expressive ' rather than 'interdependent' has so far moved us from the reality of who we are as infinite spiritual entities in a finite physical capsule that what was common sense to our ancestors is now termed as 'fairytale', 'myth' or 'religious sycophancy'…and yet, and yet even as we deny our very own origins..the future was was foretold…is quickly unravelling and being displayed before our eyes.

        I read somewhere that if you throw a frog in boiling water ( with the intention of killing it ) it will quickly jump out but if you put it in a sealed container with cool water and slowly bring it to boil, the hapless amphibian will unknowingly and gradually cook in its own juice.

        Perhaps a section of humanity can be equated to this pooor creature in the latter narartive ?

    • I'm going to strengthen my resolve to completely stop using Desktop/Laptop aka Notebook/Netbook. I hate stranger change!!!!!!!

      • how does one use them wisely? Please give info for those of us that don't know. maybe some links?

      • TheForgottenAlchemis on

        Rebecca, I have a solution. You should stop using your laptop/desktop until your brain registers the term "wisely." This means that you should just be careful about what you do. It doesn't take rocket science to figure it out, friend.

        Since computers are the complete work of the devil, you should just stop using them and switch to reading old puritan literature. Also, get rid of your television…

        Okay, but seriously; it's simple. Don't spend all day playing farmville and facebooking, go out and enjoy life.

    • Change is ONLY inevitable if you think it is.

      For almost 5.000 years, healthy humans have two hands. When we get three or when my computer get a damn hacker-controlled kill switch, we talk about this shitty changing business that is so inevitable.

      I give 2 shits that humanity will remain two-handed until it's dawn as much as I will stick into windows 7 AND avoid kill switch at all costs. If you know the meaning of the word EXPLOIT you'll understand why. Else, take some hacking courses and think on how bad would be if someone find a vulnerability and a way to control kill switch in an unauthorized way.

  1. Something's Wro on

    Good thing, I still use the old XP os. And for phones, I am a Symbian user myself. I guess, I think I'll change my OS to Linux now.

    • too many updates on

      If it's not broken (our current Windows), there is no need to fix. Thumbs up for old versions.

      They are always updating and making new versions every 5 seconds, I cannot keep up with all these new operating systems and softwares and whatnot.

      Windows 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, Vista, 2000, XP, XZ, XWY, HJGFVHDhgvef, 857y648764876

      I mean WTF at all this computer sh*t, I hate computers and computer companies. They are so annoying with all their Windowses and Linuxes and whatelse.

      Mozilla version

      Internet Exploerer version

      Word version 45455

      Itunes version 765283746593456


      • A Geek of Some Sort on

        I'll bet you weren't aware that windows XP can only see 3.3GB of RAM. There are definite needs for upgrades, but not as often as Microsoft says. For instance, I would heartily recommend an upgrade to 7. Assuming your computer is relatively modern (AKA in the last 4 years), it will run much faster than XP or Vista. Also, as far as I'm aware there is no killswitch.

      • Vista is a huge memory hog. I can run Sims 2 plus all expansions on 7 better than on Vista…and with more memory on Vista.

  2. this is insane… but there is a simple solution: people should stop agreeing to these terms and stop using their software – there are other beautiful and user-friendly operating systems like Linux Mint ( ) – no one has to be a linux guru anymore to use linux, that period was long ago, know it works fine for everyone and the desktop will be very similar to the winshit you are used to, so please drop microsoft, you don't want them to pull your strings, they are eating you alive and will control everything in your real life, if you let them control the centre of your digital life

      • Yeah… unless you're a gamer. And don't give me this WINE stuff, it doesn't work for everything.

        I'll keep using Windows 7 until they start making games compatible with native Linux.

    • how do we know linux is so great? seriously, how do we know this? is it possible we just don't know about them because they aren't as commonly used, but maybe they still have some of the same issues as windows, etc. where can one find this information? come on you smart computer people, tell the rest of us!

      • because linux has been developed by people who have a passion for computers and programming… it is modular and practical.. not created by a conglomerate corporation in the interest of making money and forcing people and industry to their own interests and goals. linux is the largest global cooperative effort humanity has achieved… all in the interest of sharing rather than making a dollar.

    • @degunk

      "I’m sorry, Dave, I can’t let you use that software. I will delete it now…"

      Right, so you would actually want to continue to use an app that may potentially hack into your system and steal your data or slow down your machine?

      On a traditional PC you would have to remove the registry keys, clear all the cache copies the app makes and uninstall it. Microsoft is merely making the experience safer and less problematic by controlling the apps from their command centre — if you will — so it doesn't effect a network of connected PCs for example.

      It pays to actually understand how things work and what a function's purpose is before being overly sceptical and paranoid. :-)

      • They pretty much do control our lives from a control center if you really think about it 😛


      • >Right, so you would actually want to continue to use an app that may potentially hack into your system and steal your data or slow down your machine?

        Lol, thats exactly what Microsoft does – and yes, removing such an evil, all-powerful trojan is the best solution.

        >It pays to actually understand how things work and what a function’s purpose is before being overly sceptical

        Are you kidding me? Even from a developers view: a function that violates privacy, is still a function that violates privacy after you understand everything it does….

        "Every nonfree program has a lord, a master — and if you use the program, he is your master." Richard Stallman

      • Oh please big faceless MegaCorp I totally trust you to have full access to my hard drive. Big Brother only has my best interests at heart, he'll never abuse his power. It's only for my own safety and to protect us all from those nasty terrorists – which is anyone who they say are.

        Please arrest me without charge, detain me indeffinately without cause. Scan through every email, every letter, every file. I don't want to have any privacy, I don't need to have any human rights because I know my big bro will look after me.

        Really? Let's have SOPA, PIPA, ACTA. We ALL should carry ID cards, we all need to have chips implanted under our skin just like it says Satan will have us do in the book of Revelation.

        WAKE UP MAN!

        Every day our freedom is in jeopardy, being chipped away at bit by bit and sometimes chunk by chunk and we just sit back and watch knowing it's the right thing to do…

      • @Anon

        "It pays to actually understand how things work and what a function’s purpose is before being overly sceptical and paranoid."

        You are absolutely right about that. That's why I learned to do those things myself so I don't depend on some one to do it for me. Especially when I KNOW where that has led in the past.

        It is a danger to be overly paranoid, overly trusting, and overly lazy.

      • "why don't they just run our lives from their command centre"

        wahahahahahah!!! [classic]

        vote for that guy! =)

    • It's funny. I had problems reading the article because someone turned on the kill switch at work. That's comedy. I think we're on 7. It wasn't a kill switch. I joke. I joke.

  3. "that was never found on PC’s before"

    You don't say.. You do realise every single app platform has a "killswitch" feature right? Windows 8 now has one because it features an integrated app store, that's all. If there was no remote killswitch feature that means the app store will be flooded with apps that are potentially malicious (like what you find all over Android).

    The only reason they are doing this and made it public is that they are getting the message across that their app store (unlike Android) will be heavily moderated and only high quality apps will be allowed.

    This feature is only limited to the WinRT app environment and not the legacy desktop environment so this article is pretty much picking at straws.

    • Wow, you sound like you're on Microsoft's payroll. Are you? Because you sound like it. I, for my part, am in the real world and I know nobody who ever said "Gee, I am very concerned about these potential malware apps. I wish these gigantic companies could remotely access my PC and delete stuff in it".

      Nobody wants that. Regular people would prefer dealing with malware rather than their personal propriety accessed and monitored without their permission. You can rationalize all you want, but the potential is there.

      It's like someone you don't known telling you: "I will install a secret door to your house and I will be able to open it whenever I need to. But, don't worry, I will only use that door in case of emergency. I won't steal anything, you can trust me". I say: "F*** you and your door and get off my propriety!".

      • ROTFL!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

        Right on!! You guys are killing me 2night…I totally agree. 1000000000000%

      • This is a completely different matter. Microsoft's servers were hacked last year and what's going to stop a hacker from inserting malicious code into any given app. This is a security blanket because of the built-in app store. We can all sit here and say, "Big brother this and big brother that" but the truth is that there is really no need to worry unless you're doing something wrong and even under the current user agreement since who knows how long with Microsoft's operating systems, they can already monitor you. There is remote PC access embedded since I believe Windows Vista. If they want to stop us from doing something it doesn't matter if there is a kill switch, or no kill switch because they will do it regardless. I, for one, don't care if there's a kill switch because even if they restrict my access, it's not like we need computers to live anyways so as far as I'm concerned, this is a non-issue.

      • J. Stacey – "I, for one, don’t care if there’s a kill switch because even if they restrict my access, it’s not like we need computers to live anyways "

        Yes, let's give up our civil rights! It's not like we really need them anyway! Do you realize that some people use computers to make a living? And that restricting computer access also restricts your access to information, like, for example, information about government corruption?

        "there is really no need to worry unless you’re doing something wrong"

        Oh, the naivety.

        What are you doing on this site? Jesus christ.

  4. SupremePantsman on

    What a fine line it is between protection and control. We're all traversing that fence right now; technology is a power that avails extremes – good and bad. In this case, I think there should be direct, definitive regulations on the use of these kill switches – but if there aren't, we should understand that we, the consumers, have the ultimate power here: purchase. We have to exercise our responsibility, if companies refuse to. If we don't show support for a product, a company will wonder why, and do what they can to make that product sell (or discontinue it altogether). So many of us support things without considering the real consequence of that support, for we've been bamboozled (I always loved that word) by ads and reviews, or anything that media force feeds us. The power is yours (Captain Planet), don't let that power be exploited.

  5. This is really pathetic the reason why I was trying to master Linux. But then Again Linux also is becoming authoritative maybe they'll have a kill switch when time comes or when the government requires it.

  6. Like most people now-a-days, I've been using these devices for quite a while now and thus, I can boldly say that a remote kill-switch is not a bad idea at all. The only problem is that, in Windows terms, this switch has explicit "administrator priviledges" and as such would prove to be much more dangerous than said malware it was created to eradicate because the major threats any malware poses to a user are corruption/deletion of data and extraction of personal information: these kill-swithes can do that at will, and even without your knowledge!

    So basicly, I think these kill-swithes are a good idea. They should simply come as optional, requesting users' permission before 'flipping'. . .kinda like 'Remote Assistance' in Windows.

    BTW, good work as usual VC. Keep 'em coming. . .#ThumbsUp

    • You are absolutely correct Don, the very real threat to your pc and information from malware is explicit and horrid. Having the option to REQUEST that they shut down any malicious software remotely removes the hassle and headache for you to deal with.

  7. Soon they will delete or mess with all conspiracy sites just so we will not look at them or reply to them because we are going against what the goverment and ellite think. Like the chorus to one of the

    red hot chili peppers song – { " give it away,give it away,give it away now."} then its { " take it away,

    take it away, take it away now". } why don't they, and they will.

  8. "They who can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety."

    Ps. Killswitch engage was m/ I haven't listened in years

  9. A better idea would be buying real books instead of e-books! I also think it is not good to use such devices too often because they can damage your eyes. Also people are already too dependent on technology, which is not a good thing!!!

  10. The simple solution would be not to use Windows 8. I'm not one to jump to the conclusion that every little change is for some sinister purpose, but I understand the paranoia. I for one could care less if there was a killswitch on my computer. I dont have top secret government information or illegal software on my devices and I sure have wasted entire days trying to remove viruses from my computer so this new innovation gets a sigh of relief for me.

  11. Bill Gates was hated in the 1980's as predatory in his monopolistic business practices.

    Then he is reinvented as a saint in giving vaccines in Africa.

    He has his shelter for his wife and children – any space for us – any doubt about that at all?

    Why can't they put in blocks from Microsoft from accessing Sites like vigilant citizen?

    Or give you special downloads if they find you've been reading "dangerous materials"? Triple your rate of restarts say…

    • The vaccines mentioned are biowarfare, designed in some cases to be applied unknowingly via mosquito bites. The last time something similar was attempted, Africa was given AIDS (see Pulitzer prized "The River" and also youtube for Robert Gallo: The Man That Created AIDS). See also Len Horowitz In Lies We Trust. Search TED.COM for Bill Gates Carbon Emmissions and watch him tell you straight up how he plans to do a 'really good job with vaccines to reduce birth rates globally'. WTFU. If humanity ever had a dire enemy, BG is in that Nazi-esque Eugenics gang. Gates, whose grandpa was Rockefeller's finance guy and whose dad headed Planned Parenthood for decades, strongly and strangely resembles Margaret Sanger, the founder of Planned Parenthood (compare their strikingly similar mug shots). WTFU. These people are against humanity, not for it. Windows8 is just their next small step in your control and ultimately extinction. You'd better count on that.

      • Also, I recall reading not too long ago a researcher who actually documented that aging versions of Windows run slower and slower, everything else being identical – meaning, specifically, that is designed to slow down and deteriorate, much like new cars with planned obsolescence.

      • Wish VC would do a story on Bill Gates. Will try to look at that info you posted, thanks.

  12. Hey, it's 2012 already. Here are the new rules.

    20% focusing on the problems and 80% focusing on the solutions.

    We know the who-what-why of the 'NWO' agenda. We know what direction society is being steered in. We need alternatives, we need new models, new practical possibilities.

    We need life rafts :)

  13. Oh, how cute! They're still practicing for that Luciferian overthrow, mm? Dunno what's gonna happen, but I can tell ya this: Unless they find some creative way to get away with murdering almost everybody on the planet, none of this Orwellian shit is gonna get them very far.

  14. The Illuminati/Masonic/ elite always hide their numerical symbolism in there logos and actions. – scroll down just past halfway for the old Microsoft Logo.

    13, 33 and on some versions even the 11 can be found. Illuminerdi~

  15. You guys remember APPLE? They created a phone that was to be for "who they want it to be" now what happened? ANYONE CAN USE AN IPHONE AND PUT WHATEVER THEY WANT ON IT!…

    Microsoft is just wasting their time, its useless… As long as you can make a software you can break it… Nothing is impossible…

  16. "Man was meant to be free and master of his own destiny,

    not some monitored cog in a dystopian machine."

    The danger of the past was that men became slaves.

    The danger of the future is that man may become robots.

  17. I think a kill switch like this deployed on hundreds of millions of systems is a disaster waiting to happen. Hackers and malware, that M$ claim to be against? It makes their work easier for them, now they only need to find a way to exploit this kill switch on W8 and distribute malware that dificult to detect and hundreds of millions of systems could be shut down, this is what viruses seek to do, disable, delete or disrupt systems that operate under windows OS. And yes, I am completely against this kill switch.

    • Many people seem to have this false view that Linux or a Mac operaton system cannot get a virus, or malware.

      Well friends, CODE IS CODE – and it is all vulberable to being exploited and attacked by other programs designed specifically to do those things. Fortunately, for now anyway, the haXXors tend to go for the biggest opportunity targets, which is Microsoft products – which makes up most than 80+% of the marketchare worldwide.

      Why write an awesome killer virus that is only going to touch a few thousand machines when you can do it to billions?? If I were to ever do something like that, I'd name it something really cool….like maybe "The Miley virus" – o wait, there already is one of those that tries to sing!! LOL

      But, in general, it is more than fair to say that Linux (of any flavor) is more secure, solid, stable and bullterproof than anything else – mainly because it was and is based on UNIX, the oldschool badass operating system, that still protects and keeps the major background componenets of "the internet" working poroperly for us all. It is the unsung hero. :)

  18. Well, that is why I love GNU/Linux. Long live Free and Open Source stuff.

    Note: Although I am not very pleased about how some GNU/Linux developers advance about graphical interfaces, such as Canonical's Ubuntu 11.10 and its Unity desktop enviroment, I think smooth graphics and effects should stay only inside games. But luckly, users can still install the old good GNOME desktop enviroment or even some less resource intensive.


    Have a nice day.

  19. The question that one must ask is, "Do you command and control the software you use, or does the software command and control you?" We are living through a script, a business plan if you will. Micro-managing every facet of our lives is their goal . The grazeland is slowly being fenced off and the time to take the sheep to the slaughter is now in sight. The shepherds are beginning to whack us with their canes as out options in life are narrowed.

  20. “No, you’re wrong. Microsoft’s “evil”, insofar as I’m concerned, has to do with the companies and technologies that never had a chance because someone at Microsoft decided to steal it, buy it or just destroy it. That someone was often William H. Gates.

    The Personal Computer Revolution was largely stolen from us, because we all got forced to go the Redmond way. There’s no point in going over Microsoft’s other evils, such as the fact that it is a Grade-A government-certified illegally acquired-and-maintained monopoly. Now, monopolies aren’t necessarily evil or illegal … but Microsoft’s is, on both counts. And don’t try to excuse them as just being, you know, basically decent people who make honest mistakes.

    Microsoft is a criminal organization that has maintained a consistent pattern of unlawful activity throughout its entire corporate existence. And so far as Apple and Google are concerned, it sounds like you’re excusing Microsoft’s bad behavior because well, you know, Apple and Google might be as bad, but we don’t know yet so let’s give Microsoft a pass for now. Look nobody knows whether we are alone in the Universe … but the question of whether that company is good or evil has been answered.

    They were taken to court over the issue of their monopoly status and lost. So yeah, Microsoft is evil, and the pattern of general nastiness persists to this very day.

    Why do you think the European Union is giving them such a hard time? Have you been following the OOXML fiasco, with Microsoft attempting to buy their way into a standard?

    No, I suggest you keep Googling Microsoft: it’s obvious you’ve not been around long enough to have experienced their evil firsthand. I’ve been in the software business since before Microsoft was a gleam in Bill Gates’ eye, and I’ve seen the damage he and his brainchild have caused.

    Bill can give all his money to charity if he wants, but there’s no Undo button for what he’s done.”

    People bitch and moan about Google and privacy, while Google and their apps are all offered as a "choice" for the user.

    Meanwhile, these same clueless people use Microsoft's closed source, proprietary Operating System with code they cannot read, with closed updates (patches) where no source code is released so on top of it all, you really have no idea what could be going on inside the machine, even with this kill switch.

    You blindly trust whatever the talking clowns at One Microsoft Way tells you about their products.

    On top of old feces are the millions of stupid people who, in addition to using a proprietary OS, trust more secret code from corporations and individuals to monitor, scan, and modify documents and play games on their proprietary OS. They blindly give proprietary applications permission to access ALL of their devices and files and some of these programs send back results in ENCRYPTED form and/or submit information from the user's system back to their servers, usually this activity is skipped over by the user in a TOS document they blindly AGREE to without reading the terms! They are, like so many people in meat space, trading privacy and security for the illusion of a little security.

    Mac OS X is also a proprietary Operating System, it is not all open code, no matter how many Mac fans try and sell it to you. IMO It's (Mac OS X) more proprietary feces, wearing better clothes (hardware and software "looks").

    I have no faith in proprietary antimalware software making corporations, either. I'm certain they are like crooked exterminators in meat space, who pay an entity to breed and release more problems so they can find the solution! (or do it in-house themselves)

    Visit and make your choice of really free and open source Operating Systems. IMO, Windows is an electronic disease for privacy and security, and the cure, which Gates never came up with, is Linux and BSD.

    You may begin your quest for knowledge here:

  21. why do they call it on

    IMO, the real reason for this is to subvert memory and processes which use Encryption, not the encryption provided by corporations or Microsoft, but by open source, projects like TRUECRYPT for example, and TOR.

    If you use Truecrypt and/or Tor, switch to Linux if you want to be safe(r), and don't load proprietary binary blobs (like Nvidia/Ati drivers), instead use the generic/open drivers Linux presents you.

  22. How many people have oodles of MP3s on their computer?

    Now, what's stopping MS from gutting the computers with Windoze 8 of all their MP3 files?

    PIPA, SOPA, the Cloud and now kill switches being imbedded in Operating Systems. It's getting to where a law will be passed and the results will be immediate – No mp3s (outside of what Apple, Google or other cloud companies will allow you) and your selection of web services will be cut off by the ISPs "in compliance with the law."

    Save your mp3s on iPods or on CDs. You may not get everything on your fingertips conveniently, but you'll be able to still have it, and have it by rights.

  23. that 'kill switch' will be disabled within a week of windows 8 being released, windows security is just lame, and russian hackers know it upside down.

  24. When I get onto VC, I normally just harvest the articles and e-books i.e. I download them onto my hard drive…..this for archving purposes..cos once SOPA kicks in….VC will be the first victim…

    So the other day I was having my quiet time and it hit me that.."what if one day…governments would have the power to delete stuff from your hard drive remotely"……now you are telling me that this is actually possible….

    Am now investing in multiple external harddrives…or can they get to this too????????

    • One Word: Print.

      They'll have to make an effort to get your stuff, and you can always hide something away from their prying eyes.

      A Kill Switch (which is probably already in all Operating Systems, including Linux ones) just makes things easy. Like an Order 66 – just activate it and it works wherever the program lies.

      • That's what you have done eh? The issue is some shrinks are the worst loony bins ever, more than their patients.

  25. Someone asked, what is the fine line between 'control' and 'protection'?

    The fine line is CONSENT. When you stop asking people's CONSENT then you go from being a protector to a violator.

    It used to be taken for granted among Internet users that Microsoft is evil. Hell, the movie TRON could practically be about Microsoft. Nowadays it seems a whole new crop of naive sheep have stumbled into the veal pen that is Windows without even realizing what they are getting themselves into.

    Microsoft has a LONG history of controlling behavior, and over the years it has taken the form of their "activation" system, and now this "killswitch". Let's not forget along the way the detestable "Palladium" or "Trusted Computing Initiative" – truly the spawn of Satan himself. Now Microsoft wants to use the UEFI BIOS to lock users into installing ONLY their factory preset Windows 8 installation on that computer.

    Like someone posted before me, what Microsoft is doing is the equivalent of the local locksmith or police department keeping a set of your house keys for "emergencies". If you wouldn't give the keys to your house to strangers or government agents, then why are you giving the keys to your computer to Microsoft and whatever government agencies Microsoft decides to get into bed with?

    Let's not pretend Microsoft is the only perpetrator, either. Apple is notorious for control-freak behavior, also known under the euphemism of the "walled garden" Apple ecosystem. Google does exhibit some of this behavior, but at least with Android the OS itself is open source and the phones can be rooted so the user can have total control *if they exercise this privilege*.

    Ultimately, people will learn the hard way that just because computer seem at once complicated and harmless, it doesn't mean that you can trust an 'expert' to handle your computing needs. Either take charge of your computer and learn what you need to in order to protect yourself, or suffer some pretty severe consequences. Our only hope at this point is the Open Source / Free Software movement. People have no idea just how close we are to the light going out forever and total darkness eternal…

  26. Hello,

    I agree that we should have freedoom and not be controlled but at the same time but I have a question. What would happen if all the toyota that had malfunction brakes had a killer switch, how many car could have gotten fix from a remote toyota office. This is not only about control, it is about a company that wants to be able to fix mistakes in software that they made and did not realise or see when the product was sold. I think is a way of making sure their products are always in working condition and therefore profitable…..that could be an idea…

    english is not my first language so appologies for any mistakes.


    • braveheart bagpipes on

      "What would happen if all the toyota that had malfunction brakes had a killer switch, how many car could have gotten fix from a remote toyota office."

      What a horrible comparison. Sorry, you failed.

      Toyota, like most car companies, uses proprietary components in their vehicles, correct? Which means no one can see the code used in closed components. This is the same problem with Microsoft. Their code is not open for review. You must close your eyes and stop your faculties of reason and accept, without question, their software works, be this software Windows or included in vehicles.

      The better solution would be for companies, like Toyota and Microsoft, to open their code for review from anyone and everyone in the public. Perhaps someone would've spotted the flaw in Toyota's design(s), but we will never know.

      We don't need remote kill switches, we don't need proprietary software and hardware, the only reason closed software and hardware exists is to make money and hide backdoors, if you've used software long enough you would know this. Once proprietary code is exposed, backdoors are usually found and quickly.

      Learn about open source and how bad proprietary software is and software patents are to our world today.

      Boycott Toyota, Sony (google sony bmg rootkit), Microsoft, and others who refuse to give us open designs. We don't need any of them. You think you do, but you don't.

      The faster 3-d printers improve and become easier to afford, the less we'll need from 3rd world countries and their slave labor and Apple, Microsoft, and others will be out of a job, when people are swapping 3-d printer designs to make their own phones and any device beyond imagination.

      You can be sure most corporations will fight to the finish to prevent 3-d printers from becoming as common as computers in the home. This path leads to the so-called "magic" of Star Trek replicators and holodecks. It's only a matter of time, but how many greedy bastards will use patents and any other means to silence and slow this technology which seeks to free us ever more from a life of slavery?

      This is our planet, and we've allowed secret meetings, secret organizations, and secret code/hardware to dominate our lives, while we discover more and more how much of these proprietary methods are destroying our society.

      Make your choice, draw your line in the sand, people like Richard Stallman should be praised for their vision, not egomaniac power mongers who front criminal organizations dressed up to appear as anything but.

  27. Solution:

    All we need to do is convert some skilled hacker peeps to join our side, and that way, wed be even. They'd know what were up too…and WE'D know what THEY'RE up too. its perfect! Perfect! PERFECT! >:)


  28. Call me a nostalgia whore, but I continued using Windows 98se through 2006 (when my desktop died). Right now, I am still using Windows 2000, and refuse to upgrade until my current desktop dies.

  29. i have a solution for this problem.. just don't buy their products..

    big companies are known for abusing the power we give them over our products we buy from them.. just look at computer games.. with updates that come from them.. if you dont update the game then you can't play it online.. thats control right there..

    great article ..

  30. I think it's ironic that the kindle deleted copies of 1984 considering how the book about government control and privacy. Symbolic in itself.

  31. @Godozo

    Touching the subject about MP3 and MP4 files, I recommend OGG, although only a few devices plays them.

    For those worried PlayStation 3 users, there is PS3 Media Server, I have managed to play my OGG musics and my OGV videos on my father's PlayStation 3 using a wireless connection (it appears that the device did not handled the OGG video extension, so I changed it to OGV and it worked well, although the colors were a mess, anyway, the important for my were the musics).

    And how lucky I am, my mother's home theater, my parents' television, our cellphones and my MP4 player can not manage to play a single OGG file! If I knew this before I would bought a S1 MP3 made after 2005!

    Anyway, its pointless to hate someone and still like its creations. I prefer using Linux on my main home computer and at school (and I hope they keep it there), I can use Windows (but doing ugly faces) but not so much, as I see some limitations on it from time to time.


    Have a nice day.

    Play OGG!

  32. So….They are going to release a kill switch….then bug fix all the backdoors they left open with it. THEN realise they stuffed up and not do it in windows 9? Silly concept, Silly solution to a problem that hasn't even arisen.

  33. Just great. It's like microsoft's own SOPA. "Oh, were just trying to keep you safe while we just randomly delete your private files and modify your source code."

  34. I did not read through all the comments, so please forgive me if this has already been mentioned.

    A 'kill switch' is all well and good to remove malicious code that is infecting users devices.

    However, I wonder why the potentially malicious software is not vetted before being allowed on the APP Store? Does Microsoft not have control over their own APP Store? Can anyone just upload malware with no oversight from Microsoft?

    If Microsoft et al really care about preventing the spread of malware, I believe the best solution is to prevent it from being installed in the first place.

    Therefore, I would posit that the 'kill switch' is most likely a true Trojan Horse (Something that is not what it appears to be, but has an ulterior motive), and that Microsoft et al deliberately and with malice aforethought, allow malware into their App Store(s) to justify this bit of back-door Trojan Horse code.

  35. And now technology is being influenced with the dark intentions of those who are the big bosses that can do whatever they want at the mercy of the people who are already suffering worse.

    Killswitch Engage is definitely coming to destroy one's computer.

    It seems that when everything is being controlled, I was never expecting "everything and all things" involved including this.

  36. transvestite mummy z on

    “but do you know how to check and is there any point checking when we already know NSA/KGB, etc etc have the globe encircled with satellites?”

    try lining your windows with tinfoil and check it after a few months. You’ll discover straight LINES and DOTS (tiny peep holes). This is with the tinfoil on the inside of the windows’ surface, in-house/apartment. What causes this?

    I believe most, if not all consumer computers and devices are, if not monitored, swept and mirrored by big bro using satellite technology.

    One anonymous poster to pastebin, claiming to be representitive of Mossad, fired a shot across the bow of Anonymous and other hackers by saying, paraphrased, “All of your hard drives are mirrored in (locations A,B,C as I forget which countries were mentioned) certain places on Earth anyway.

    I find this to be true, I’ve used Microsoft’s SysInternals programs to monitor processes and discovered my drives being swept, a chat program running I never installed and could find no trace of, files where they had the most interest were mp3 and graphics files, but they scraped the whole drive, and an iso creator/mirroring utility was running.

    You only make it easier for them if you willingly install video streaming programs (VLC) with command line counterparts, music programs with command line counterparts, Office programs, which I noticed PDF files were being made in the background, and all of this activity was happening when I was monitoring a computer isolated from any wired/wireless/LAN network(s).

    Google: Subversion Hack archive for a glimpse into this mysterious activity

    It’s all about the waves.

  37. @Transvestite Mummy Zombie,

    Well, if this is true or not, I cannot tell, because I use GNU/Linux, but I am worried about my parents, their notebook have Windows as operating system with VLC Media Player installed, we hate proprietary software (believe me, it was hard to make them feel confortable with Free or Open Source software, and they still look at GNU/Linux with an ugly face, although they accept it).

    Only one of my schoolfriends likes GNU/Linux and prefers it instead of Windows, and we are trying to convince one more to like it. 😀

    And also, I am very disapointed by the way hardware and software interacts between themselves, Two weeks ago me and my friend bought a USB flash drive that came with a program called UrDrive, my friend thought it was cool, but I was convinced it was useless, and since I use GNU/Linux, we had to wait some days to find a good moment to "test" the program, and also for me to proof its uselessness.

    We managed to meet ourselves at an internet café, and we tested the UrDrive functionality.

    The software does the same as a direct access to the USB flash drive, and this last one is even more functional since we experienced some software errors.

    But there are cases wich the situation is more worse. One of my cousins bought a 3G USB connector, wich interacts with her cellphone, and it uses a heavy software with, most of all, graphical effects, and links to the most famous, and unsecure, internet accounts, and you are forced to use this software, because if you use the conventional method of going to the network configuration and selecting the 3G network itself, it will not connect! Come on proprietary hardware and software developers, I know you can do something more functional and simple. There will be a time wich the Open Hardware concept will advance faster and will reach our desktop computers, and then we will have true technological freedom and revolution, we already have free basic input output systems, such as Coreboot.


    Have a nice day.

  38. TheForgottenAlchemis on

    Alright, that's why I like my current OS and (Vista) and there's always Linux. I don't care for touching my screen anyway, I like a keyboard.


    The best investment that don't cost anything. ROCK SOLID!!! FAST AND FUN!!!!

  40. Very good comments on here…and indeed this is an issue. However I will once again(unfortuantely) refer to "the Matrix" to reseolve this issure. People willonly accept this new system(ie; the kill switch) if they are given a choice, even if only at the subliminal level….lol seriously though the fix is simple DONT GO INTO PEOPLES stuff!!!! If they want to fix it, send the user a message saying "hey ___ is mseed up or not functioning, the system is requesting access to modify this file….do you agree?" We will probably say yes, but it is most importatnt that we HAD a chance or option to say no.

  41. Read the whole article just there. While the killswitch definitly has its uses, as with all technology it seems that it has the potential to be abused. In context of the recent passing of the cyber security act in my country (Ireland) by minister sherlock I do find this slightly concerning.

  42. Don't Kinect on

    Written by Alphonse:

    Microsoft Kinect Spy System

    "So you just got the Kinect/Xbox360 gaming system and you’re having fun, hanging out in your underwear, plopped down in your favorite lounge chair, and playing games with your buddies. Yeah, it’s great to have a microphone and camera in your game system so you can “Kinect” to your pals while you play, but did you read that Terms of Service Agreement that came with your Kinect thingy? No? Here, let me point out an important part of that service agreement.

    If you accept the agreement, you “expressly authorize and consent to us accessing or disclosing information about you, including the content of your communications, in order to: (a) comply with the law or respond to lawful requests or legal process; (b) protect the rights or property of Microsoft, our partners, or our customers, including the enforcement of our agreements or policies governing your use of the Service; or (c) act on a good faith belief that such access or disclosure is necessary to protect the personal safety of Microsoft employees, customers, or the public.”

    Did you catch that? Here, let me print the important part in really big letters.

    “If you accept the agreement, you expressly authorize and consent to us accessing or disclosing information about you, including the content of your communications… on a good faith belief that such access or disclosure is necessary to protect the personal safety of Microsoft employees, customers, or the public.”

    OK, is that clear enough for ya? When you use the Kinect system, you agree to allow Microsoft (and any branch of law enforcement or government they care to share information with) to use your Kinect system to spy on you. Maybe run that facial recognition software to check you out, listen to your conversations, and keep track of who you are communicating with.

    I know this is probably old news to some, but I thought I would mention it because it pertains to almost all of these home game systems that are interactive. You have to remember, the camera and microphone contained in your game system has the ability to be hacked by anyone the game company gives that ability to, and that includes government snoops and law enforcement agents.

    Hey, it’s MICROSOFT. What did you expect?

    And the same concerns apply to all interactive game systems. Just something to think about if you’re having a “Naked Wii party” or doing something illegal while you’re gaming with your buddies. Or maybe you say something suspicious and it triggers the DHS software to start tracking your every word. Hey, this is not paranoia. It’s spelled out for you, right there in that Service Agreement. Read it! Here’s one more part of the agreement you should be aware of.

    “You should not expect any level of privacy concerning your use of the live communication features (for example, voice chat, video and communications in live-hosted gameplay sessions) offered through the Service.”

    Did you catch it that time? YOU SHOULD NOT EXPECT ANY LEVEL OF PRIVACY concerning your voice chat and video features on your Kinect box."

  43. microphone test on

    "Well, if this is true or not, I cannot tell, because I use GNU/Linux,"

    The same is true for *nix, you just have to have the right monitoring tools and know what to look for inside binaries which are easily messed with by injecting malware into them and tools used by "THEM" to obscure the code injected into the ELF binaries so as to avoid being picked up as malware.

    One simple command you can use to check for modifications to your files:

    sudo find /usr/bin -mtime -60

    That will search /usr/bin for files modified within 60 minutes, adjust the command as needed for other directories and time frames.

    ALWAYS generate sha256sums or better (NOT MD5 or SHA1) of your initial install and the LiveCD and store them on a READ ONLY media like a once writable CDROM. The free utility known as "md5deep" offers more than md5 checksum generation and unlike the simple tools like sha256sum, sha1sum, etc., md5deep's options offer RECURSIVE and directory stripping options, perfect for backup on CDROMs.

    Here's one example out of many mysterious *nix trojans floating about:

    – Linux/Bckdr-RKC


    "For those who aren't familiar with this trojan, an anonymous internet user has taken the time to put together a Pastebin post highlighting my research on this trojan":

    More questions without answers:

    – Malware for Windows, *nux (and MacOSX?) which HIDES in FIRMWARE on routers, PCI and AGP cards and devices (including CD burners), system BIOS, MBRs, ethernet (nic) cards most if not all surviving hard drive wipes/formats and preloaded again and updated "through-the-air" mysteriously or when you've plugged into the net.

    – Ethernet cards using packet radio modules/protocols

    – Linux distributions including LiveCDs including more modules than they need to run, especially for LiveCD purposes, including build essentials, dpkg-dev, ISDN drivers/modules (sometimes in multiple places, as binary files and as modules) and other modules including ham radio modules

    – PCI and AGP rootkits which never leave (no antivirus scanner scans firmware on these cards and devices where most of the really serious malware resides)

    Google on these topics for whitepapers and documentation up the yin yang, including ever popular DEFCON talks, papers, etc.

    Also Google: Subversion hack archive (it's a website detailing mysterious trojans reinfecting computers NOT plugged into the net).

    There are probably a ton of non-detectable Linux exploits in the wild. Many of the freely offered ones on some of the more whitehat/popular sites aren't detected. More are made and uploaded every day.

    In my opinion, no electronic device is safe, especially not those whose builders FORCE your motherboard to have a preinstalled, unremovable network (nic) card, sound card (both can be exploited by ham radio modules/drivers/malicious related programs), video card, etc.

    One possible solution to this madness would be to purchase ANCIENT computers (Apple II or Cmdre for example) and use open source networking code. Much of these older systems did not have a lot of built in networking devices and storage devices.

    The ultimate solution is to avoid electronic devices completely (even TV and radio) and learn to love books and libraries again, but for most people that would be as painful as slitting their own necks like a chicken, they lust after their Facebook, smartphone, iphone, ipad, Twitter, Angry Birds, and other diversions.

    Google the article: The Mind Has No Firewall (written by a solider, unless I'm mistaken), to expose how weak our minds are to (electronic) attack.

    Visit: : to learn more about 'the big game" which we're all enrolled in by birth.

  44. this is scary! it's like they will be able to access not only phones and its messages, but also laptops/computers and its private documents! I am not buying a new laptop, nor am I upgrading my software. :)) This is truly informative. Thank you!

  45. It was inevitable. I don't think it is scary. If there weren't unscrupulous individuals, there wouldn't be any need. If all the citizens and visitors in a country were upright and honest there would be no need for police.

  46. I read a tech article somewhere that Windows 8 is only an update of Windows 7 because of its version number and the only real difference will be in the graphic user interface (the windows screens), so Windows 7 will likely have the switch. Don't forget to look always of reducing your digital footprint and reduce information given to browsers etc (privacy/security on he web).

    The only way around the remote deletion is to possibly rename files along with different file extensions, encrypt files (tricky if the device is damaged), save to multiple formats such as CD/DVD/USB/SD Card in multiple secure locations etc. Have multiple equipment that can read these formats. Have a separate ISOLATED computer (no internet, no Wireless) kept dry and secure in a grounded Faraday cage along with user guides and software.

    Ultimately though unless you are in a Deep Underground Military Base then in the great scheme of things all this will not make much difference.

    For further information about what is going on search the internet while it is still here and use your own intuition/instinct to see if the information feels right to you.

    Remember there are a lot people/groups/organisations (including some big names) who are disinfo/CIA/cointelpro agents. Do not feel obligated to join any movements such as Anonymous (we are the 99% and We are legion who are CIA. Do your own research follow patterns, look at propaganda, who benefits and who pays for this/that or messages in other words FOLLOW THE MONEY!

    Search for the following (but only if you are willing to change the way you see the world forever):

    WW3, global depopulation, chemtrails, financial collapse, shapeshifting reptilians (on YouTube), Nibiru, Planet X, Sun dying, moon bases, mars buildings, hollow earth and the end times.

    and see

  47. Dear reader,

    I do not like to join those popular social groups (in other words, Anonymous), I do not know how but they look too weird and their objectives are too perfect, and protests do not help if people do not know how to control themselves inside and outside.

    I am proud to say that I still like good hours at my personal small library, the school library, and the schoolbooks I received this year. And thanks for this habits I have ease to do synthesis about any given text, and my brain begun to evolve more faster since I started to practice with GBrainy and the exercises of my schoolbooks on my own.

    Since I want to be a sociologist I sometimes listen radios and watch television, very carefully, although I do not like them. I prefer something less manipulating like my free music collection and channels like TV Escola (translating directly to English: School TV).

    Also, a lot of people need to learn how to conserve public property, and the computers of my school are a proof of this. Good computers running Linux, and some students do some reckless acts like setting "GTA is cool" as screensaver. A lot of students get mad if you tell them to learn, switch to, or try Linux, or to use LibreOffice instead of Microsoft Office, or Inkscape instead of CorelDRAW, or GIMP instead of Adobe Photoshop, or Kompozer instead of Adobe Dreamweaver, or VLC Media Player instead of Windows Media Player, but they do not think twice to do reckless things.

    Some students never learn to be fair also, in the last Philosophy class our class had to give our notebooks with a synthesis about Medieval Philosophy, and soon the teacher begun to read the synthesus and called me and two more schoolmates to greet us and advise about the next synthesis, when I tried to take my notebook out of the pile, he forbade me, so I went back to my place and took out my draftbook and started a draft of the next synthesis, later I went to the bathroom and when I came back there was a schoolmate sitting in my place, reading my drafts, without my permission, hidding a cellphone with his hands, so I approached my place, crossed my arms, and stared at him, he slowly looked up and said "Hi", got up and left. As soon as the school day ended I went to the staff room and reported him to the Philosophy teacher, who said: "Do not worry, a surprise awaits him on the next class". So I am looking forward for the next Philosophy class.


    Have a nice day.

  48. Simple answer screw Windows and install Linux problem solved.

    Lets see Windows laundry list:

    – Kill Switch

    – DRM Protection

    – Spyware

    – Cloud

    – Ugly UI and Metro crap

    – Store Front

    – Storage Space

    – Virtualization

    – Micro payments (wouldn't be surprised)

    – Anything else I might have missed…

  49. It's NOT NWO, it is Old World Order re-establising itself. Conspiracy theories are self defeating because they often rely on wild and unsubstantiated or unverifiable claims. Where we have 'verification' of nefarious activity, we need to focus and expose. There is a great deal of effort and resources that are devoted to making Conspiracy Theorists impotent and ineffective by portraying them as paranoid and delusional. If you want to do something important, drop the crazy and fantastic ideas and focus on REAL and VERIFIABLE evidence of the coming ages. Peace and God bless.

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