Windows 10 installing without permission; Google doubles bug bounty to US$100K; Android N preview

By Andrew Collins
Thursday, 17 March, 2016

Windows 10 installing without permission; Google doubles bug bounty to US$100K; Android N preview

Users of Windows 7 have taken to social media to complain that their PCs are automatically upgrading to Windows 10 without asking permission. Microsoft has reportedly denied the claims.

Stories on The Guardian and Computerworld websites quote a variety of users’ accounts of how their Windows 7 PC began installing Windows 10 without explicitly asking permission first.

And while the apparently unwanted upgrades have gone smoothly for some, others report further problems. In one account, the unexpected upgrade bricked the user’s PC, while in another, the upgrade blocked access to shared folders that were accessible under the previously installed Windows 7.

In spite of these user stories, Microsoft has insisted that Windows 10 will not automatically install without explicitly asking for permission, The Guardian reported.

“Customers continue to be fully in control of their devices and can choose to not install the Windows 10 upgrade or remove the upgrade from Windows Update by changing the Windows Update settings,” a Microsoft spokesperson was quoted as saying.

There are a few theories floating around to explain the supposed automatic upgrades to Windows 10.

In The Guardian piece, it was pointed out that Microsoft recently changed the Windows 10 upgrade from ‘Optional’ to ‘Recommended’ in Windows Update. If a user had their Windows Update set to ‘Install all recommended updates’, this change of the upgrade to ‘Recommended’ would mean it would be automatically downloaded to the user’s PC, the piece suggested.

In a potentially related theory, a software engineer cited by Computerworld suggested that Microsoft may have actually changed users’ Windows Update settings to install updates automatically.

Alternatively, The Independent suggested that perhaps the affected users had simply accidentally consented to the upgrade in the past.

It’s not yet clear which of these explanations (if any) account for the user reports of automatic upgrades. What is clear is that many users have had their first experience with Windows 10 be very unpleasant — probably not what Microsoft desires.

Google doubles Chrome bug bounty

Google has expanded its bug bounty program for Chrome, doubling the top reward in the program from US$50,000 to US$100,000 (about AU$134,000).

The new reward is one of several changes the company has made to its Chrome Reward Program.

In a blog post titled ‘Get Rich or Hack Tryin’, the company explained that last year it introduced a US$50,000 reward for the persistent compromise of a Chromebook in guest mode.

“Since we introduced the $50,000 reward, we haven’t had a successful submission,” the post read.

The company has now doubled that reward to US$100,000.

As Google’s Chrome Reward Program Rules page explains: “We have a standing $100,000 reward for participants that can compromise a Chromebook or Chromebox with device persistence in guest mode (ie, guest to guest persistence with interim reboot, delivered via a web page).”

Android N Developer Preview

Google has released a developer preview of Android N, the upcoming release of the company’s mobile OS.

Android’s VP of Engineering, Dave Burke, explained in a blog post that the preview was being released significantly earlier than usual.

“By releasing a ‘work in progress’ build earlier in development, we have more time to incorporate developer feedback. Also, the earlier preview allows us to hand off the final N release to device makers this summer, so they can get their hands on the latest version of Android earlier than ever,” Burke wrote.

Two of the features appearing in the Android N developer preview are: a manifest attribute that allows activities to be launched in split-screen modes on phones and tables, and the ability to allow users to reply to incoming message notifications without leaving the notification shade.

Hit the Android Developer Blog for more details on downloading the N Preview SDK.

Image courtesy Microsoft.

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