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Windows 10 Tweaks For Your Privacy

Microsoft has been long known to release their Windows products with a multitude of security holes, and Windows 10 is no different.  Like many of the security holes of the past, many are intentional and can be disabled! I have yet to figure out why, from a liability standpoint, a company with such deep pockets continues to put their users at risk and get away with it.

Nonetheless, if you've decided to run Windows 10 then you may want to address the several security issues we know about at this point, which range from minor to downright scary.

Windows Sense
This is one of those features that, even if you think is a great innovation, you'd think would be turned off by default. Windows Sense is a WiFi sharing feature, recommending open hotspots and potentially sharing your secured wireless network information over Facebook.

It's not necessarily as bad as it sounds, but it isn't good either. I compare it to leaving your car running outside the grocery store, with the doors locked; your car will probably be there when you get back - or you might not! Turn if off by going to Settings -> Network -> Wifi -> Manage and choose to turn off "WiFi shared by contacts" - which also turns off sharing yours.

 

Updates from more than one place, aka share your internet
Microsoft, by default, shares your internet connection to deploy its updates. It's a P2P service built right into the operating system.  The problem is, your bandwidth is consumed by redistributing Microsoft's updates.  In addition, there is the risk hackers will spoof Microsoft's service and could potentially use this service to deploy viruses masquerading as Microsoft Updates!  Turn it off by going to Settings -> Chose How Updates Are Delivered -> Updates from more than one place and turn of the "PCs on the internet" option.

 

Privacy Settings - Advertising
Microsoft wants to ensure you enjoy internet advertising and spam as much as possible, so they give you your very own advertising ID and share your personal information so you can be better targeted by vendors who purchase their service.  To turn this option off go to Settings -> Privacy -> General and turn off the option to share your advertising ID.

 

Privacy Settings - Camera
Apparently Microsoft wants to make it easier for others to enjoy using your webcam, so they allow you to default to all apps access to your camera. This would include rouge software.  To turn this option off go to Settings -> Privacy -> Camera make sure "Let apps use my camera" is off. Some have reported this option was ON by default. You can also select apps that you know should legitimately access your camera.

 

Privacy Settings - Location
  To turn this option off go to Settings -> Privacy -> Location make sure "Location" is off. If it was "ON" then I'd recommend clearing the history (scroll down to find it).  Also, you might want to go through the various apps and turn them off as well.

 

Privacy Settings - Account Info
Microsoft figures the world ought to know your name and what you look like. Just think what this info, along with location means. To turn this option off go to Settings -> Privacy -> Account Info make sure "Let apps access my name, picture, and other account info" is off. You can also control which apps should legitimately access your microphone.

 

NOTE: If you use Cortana, then Microphone and Contacts privacy invasion must be left ON.

Privacy Settings - Microphone
Apparently Microsoft wants to make it easier for others to enjoy hearing your wonderful voice, so they allow you to default to all apps access to your Microphone. This would include rouge software.  To turn this option off go to Settings -> Privacy -> Microphone make sure "Let apps use my Microphone" is off. Some have reported this option was ON by default. You can also control which apps should legitimately access your microphone.

 

Privacy Settings - Contacts
Microsoft wouldn't want to leave spammers out. I already get too much spam because of people's contacts being stolen by malware and (I don't know why) uploading their contact lists to social networking sites. But Microsoft allows apps to access and share the information without you knowing.  To turn this option off go to Settings -> Privacy -> Contacts and make sure "Let apps access my contacts" is off. You can also control which apps should legitimately access your contacts.

 

Privacy Settings - Messaging
Microsoft really doesn't want to leave spammers out. But Microsoft allows apps to both READ and SEND messages without you knowing.  To turn this option off go to Settings -> Privacy -> Messaging and make sure "Let apps read or send messages (Text or MMS)" is off. You can also control which apps should legitimately send and receive messages.