In an unusual move by the software giant Microsoft, rather than fix vulnerabilities with sidebar and Gadgets, Microsoft is advising users in a Microsoft security advisory to disable the features altogether.
Windows Sidebar is a long, vertical bar that is displayed on the side of your desktop. It contains mini-programs called gadgets, which offer information at a glance and provide easy access to frequently used tools.
These programs, if left enabled may allow the execution of arbitrary code allowing hackers to take control of a users computer.
Just weeks before the Black Hat 2012 conference in Las Vegas, where researchers were prepared to disclose the vulnerabilities, Microsoft acknowledged unspecified security vulnerabilities and released the security advisory.
The Microsoft security advisory provides a way to disable the sidebar engine. Microsoft did not provide any detail to the vulnerabilities or explain why it is abandoning sidebar and gadgets, at least for now.
Microsoft’s gadget website, which until Tuesday described how to obtain gadgets, now warns users. “Gadgets installed from untrusted sources can harm your computer and can access your computer’s files, show you objectionable content, or change their behavior at any time,” said the site.
As a sidenote – it is doubtful that Microsoft will keep sidebar and gadgets in the final release of Windows 8, but they are still active in both the beta Consumer and Release Preview editions. You should also note that the security fix does not work on the Windows 8 beta versions.
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