There you go — Microsoft has confirmed that they have remote kill switch installed in to Windows 8 apps. using this access, they can disable and even remove an app entirely from a user’s device. This piece of information was released along with other details of the upcoming Windows Store for Windows 8.
If you are shocked or outraged, don’t be. This has become standard procedure for app stores of this kind and it is seen in both Apple and Google run app stores. So both of the market leading companies can trigger a command to wipe out an app from your system and they do not necessarily need your permission to do it. However, it is an extreme maneuver and is reserved for the times when malware has accidentally slipped through the screening process or there’s a severe amount of controversy or legal battle regarding the app. It is is sort of a last resort for the companies. And users are usually well compensated for their inconvenience through app store gift cards and so on. In fact, Microsoft has precedent for being generous in this regard. Recently there was a security glitch in the Xbox Live platform that banned people without rhyme or reason. These users were promptly reinstated in their full unbanned glory and were actually given free download codes for an entire game! Needless to say, Xbox Live gamers are now hoping to be similarly inconvenienced at the first given opportunity.
Windows 8 Apps To Have Remote Kill Switch
“In cases where your security is at risk, or where we’re required to do so for legal reasons, you may not be able to run apps or access content that you previously acquired or purchased a license for,”
Other than mentioning the fact that the users will be compensated, the Windows makers also mentioned one more point of interest. They may also clean out the data created by the offending app.
“If the Windows Store, an app, or any content is changed or discontinued, your data could be deleted or you may not be able to retrieve data you have stored,”
Not very convenient if you were depending on it but when it come to security risks, it is going to be quite the blessing to have Microsoft do the clean up for you.
So far, there has been no incident in the the mobile app store history where Apple has had to use their kill switch. Steve Jobs had acknowledged the presence of such a command though. iOS apps that have been removed from the app store after it was approved and put up, have so far not been removed by Apple. Those who purchased the apps could continue using it as normal. There was no remote wipe. Google however has used their kill switch multiple times, usually after discovering a malicious app on the lose.
Microsoft has not detailed the review process for the apps but they will surely be helped by the precedents set by Google and Apple. It will be easier to perfect the existing system now that there are others who are already doing it. Experts have chimed in with their opinion saying that it will most likely be much more stringent that the standards set by Google. But perhaps it won’t be as strict as Apple. It is easy to see that the best path is to take the middle path that lies between the two renowned extremes.
There has been no official word on it but the Windows Store is expected to throw open its digital gates the same time as the first beta release of Windows 8.