Man-in-the-middle techniques are a real plague in our world of computers and software. As the name suggests, this type of attack allows hackers to intercept data being transmitted by users which can range from usernames and passwords to financial information. Microsoft has announced their plan to crack down on these techniques and effectively reduce the number of adware in circulation. This is good news for Bitcoin users as well, meaning their funds will be safe from harm.
Microsoft Labels Various Settings As Malware Attacks
Even though the decision made by Microsoft is the right one, the way the company wants to go about things might leave much to be desired. Come March 31, 2016, software attempting to change DNS settings or inject a proxy server on top of the existing network will be labeled as malware and blocked immediately.
One obvious question comes to mind right away and that is how proxy and VPN services will be affected by this decision. There are a lot of legitimate reasons for people to use such services, as circumvented blocked Internet content is the most common cause. Granted, using any of these tools is the full responsibility of the end user and they will hopefully be able to manually override the blockade enforced by Microsoft.
Furthermore, Microsoft wants to put an end to programs creating advertisement within browsers. That is unless these programs use the browser’s supported mode for installation, execution, disabling, and removal. Regular plugins will still be supported, as long as they appear in the official browser’s store. Side-loading plugins, however, will not be possible anymore, by the look of things.
Adware has been a thorn in the eye of Microsoft and its users for quite some time now. The main problem is how this software injects advertisements across the entire operating system, as well as the browsing experience. Despite the abundance of tools to remove adware, the techniques have become more sophisticated, rendering these solutions all but useless.
Microsoft stated in their blog post:
“All of these techniques intercept communications between the Internet and the PC to inject advertisements and promotions into web pages from outside, without the control of the browser. Our intent is to keep the user in control of their browsing experience and these methods reduce that control.”
Positive News For Bitcoin Users
The fight against adware is also a positive trend for Bitcoin users around the globe. Adware-infected machines can intercept all types of data, including the information broadcast during a bitcoin transaction. Even worse, adware opens up additional vulnerabilities on computers, allowing hackers to steal wallet.dat files, among other things.
At the time of publication, the number of bitcoins stolen as a result of adware is hard to estimate. Users need to take computer security more seriously when they get involved in Bitcoin, as transactions are non-refundable. Keeping funds safe from harm on the operating system levels seems to be the smart decision by Microsoft.
What are your thoughts on this announcement? Let us know in the comments below!
Source: Microsoft Blog
Images courtesy of Microsoft, Shutterstock