Jump to content
Strawberry Orange Banana Lime Leaf Slate Sky Blueberry Grape Watermelon Chocolate Marble
Strawberry Orange Banana Lime Leaf Slate Sky Blueberry Grape Watermelon Chocolate Marble

MSFN is made available via donations, subscriptions and advertising revenue. The use of ad-blocking software hurts the site. Please disable ad-blocking software or set an exception for MSFN. Alternatively, register and become a site sponsor/subscriber and ads will be disabled automatically. 


Sign in to follow this  
NoelC

Windows 8.1 Privacy and Windows Update, et. al.

Recommended Posts

With Windows 10 getting all the hot "Privacy Invasion!" press lately, I thought it's worth mentioning that an updated Windows 8.1 system is as likely to send your data abroad as Windows 10.  Perhaps even MORE likely, since there aren't as many tools of the genre "ShutUp8.1"!  The subject is finally getting good attention.

 

I've long since thrown all the switches on my Win 8.1 x64 Pro MCE system to the most-private settings, I use a local account, and I have no Metro/Modern/Universal Apps.  OneDrive is completely off as well.

 

I've developed a "deny-by-default" firewall configuration based on Sphinx Windows Firewall Control that blocks things I haven't specifically given permission to communicate.

 

You'd be surprised at how many communications are STILL attempted by the operating system itself.

 

As an experiment, with the firewall and full monitoring in place, I left the Windows Update service not running for the past several days.  The following is a summary of what I saw:

 

The encrypted communications, marked in red, may represent clandestine attempts to send telemetry or personal data to Microsoft.  I attribute the several connections marked in blue at the end to a possible "secret" Windows Update attempt.

 

Unwanted Win 8.1 communications my firewall has blocked in the last few days:

 

TCP 23.1.117.231:80 - Akamai Technologies (CDN), Cambridge MA - by svchost.exe using my login ID

TCP 23.13.70.176:80 - Akamai Technologies (CDN), Cambridge MA - by dllhost.exe using SYSTEM login ID

TCP 23.14.181.100:80 - Akamai Technologies (CDN), Cambridge MA - by svchost.exe using SYSTEM login ID

TCP 23.39.131.234:80 - Akamai Technologies (CDN), Cambridge MA - by svchost.exe using my login ID

TCP 23.62.165.99:80 - Akamai Technologies (CDN), Cambridge MA - by svchost.exe using SYSTEM login ID

TCP 23.96.212.225:443 - Microsoft Azure, Redmond WA - by Microsoft Windows Malicious Software Removal Tool

TCP 23.218.211.122:80 - Akamai Technologies (CDN), Cambridge MA - by svchost.exe using my login ID

TCP 104.41.32.78:443 - Microsoft Azure, Sao Paulo, Brazil - by Microsoft Windows Malicious Software Removal Tool

TCP 108.162.232.196:80 - CloudFlare, San Francisco, CA - by svchost.exe using my login ID
TCP 108.162.232.197:80 - CloudFlare, San Francisco, CA - by svchost.exe using my login ID
TCP 108.162.232.198:80 - CloudFlare, San Francisco, CA - by svchost.exe using my login ID
TCP 108.162.232.199:80 - CloudFlare, San Francisco, CA - by svchost.exe using my login ID
TCP 108.162.232.200:80 - CloudFlare, San Francisco, CA - by svchost.exe using my login ID
TCP 108.162.232.201:80 - CloudFlare, San Francisco, CA - by svchost.exe using my login ID
TCP 108.162.232.202:80 - CloudFlare, San Francisco, CA - by svchost.exe using my login ID

TCP 108.162.232.205:80 - CloudFlare, San Francisco, CA - by svchost.exe using my login ID

TCP 172.224.184.228:80 - Akamai Technologies (CDN), Cambridge MA - by dllhost.exe using SYSTEM login ID

TCP 191.237.208.126:443 - Microsoft Azure, Wichita, KA - by Microsoft Windows Malicious Software Removal Tool
TCP 191.238.241.80:443 - Microsoft Azure, Wichita, KA - by Microsoft Windows Malicious Software Removal Tool

TCP 192.204.82.178:80 - NTT, Orlando, FL - by Windows Media Player

TCP 192.204.82.210:80 - NTT, Orlando, FL - by Windows Media Player

Specifically blocked on Win 8.1 late last night while the system was idle:

 

TCP 104.73.11.204:80 - Akamai Technologies (CDN), Cambridge MA - by svchost.exe using my login ID

TCP 23.62.165.99:80 - Akamai Technologies (CDN), Cambridge MA - by svchost.exe using SYSTEM login ID

TCP 23.218.211.122:80 - Akamai Technologies (CDN), Cambridge MA

 

Win 8.1 Communications that have succeeded, since I've specifically whitelisted the address or protocol

 

ICMP - 23.99.222.162 - Microsoft, Redmond WA

TCP 178.255.83.2:80 - Comodo (Certificate Revocation List server), London, England - by svchost.exe

TCP 93.184.215.200:80 - Edgecast Networks (Certificate Revocation List server), Wichita KA - by svchost.exe

 

 

In the past I have whitelisted the following addresses to allow a successful Windows Update, but communications with these happened autonomously without my having requested a Windows Update

 

These concern me, as they may represent an attempt by the system to do a "secret" Windows Update.  It is apparently not fully possible to lock a system down with just a firewall alone and still allow Windows Updates.  This is why in general I advocate disabling the Windows Update service when I'm not looking to actually do a Windows Update. 

 

TCP 23.14.84.57:80 - Akamai Technologies (CDN), Cambridge MA - by svchost.exe
TCP 23.14.84.113:80 - Akamai Technologies (CDN), Cambridge MA - by svchost.exe
TCP 96.16.98.112:80 - Akamai Technologies (CDN), Cambridge MA - by svchost.exe

 

I'll be continuing my test a bit longer to see what the system will try to do on its own if Windows Update is left disabled.

 

-Noel

Edited by NoelC
  • Upvote 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thank you for sharing this NoelC. With updates from Mai until now, Win 8.1 smells like a Win 10 in privacy aspect.

 

I did not check personally for a month since I came to the conclusion that the only viable solution was:

1) to disable Win Update service (and bits service to free memory used for nothing)

2) to remove all updates since April 2015.

 

I have a quiet Win 8.1 (with aeroglass, Classic Start Menu, Opaque TaskBar, SwiftSearch...) and am happy with this to develop software, encode video, play WoW....

 

Sure I understand you in checking all possible solutions because I don't feel comfortable in having a fixed version which will age forever, and can't switch easily to Linux since I mainly develop for Windows platforms and playing with Wine is just not a good solution.

 

But since I lost my trust in MS now, I really feel trapped with a hope one day an OS like and compatible with Win 7 will emerge.

 

My 2 cents.

Ridrok

Edited by Ridrok

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Restore formatting

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

Sign in to follow this  

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.

×
×
  • Create New...