Microsoft denies Windows 7 UAC vulnerability

Microsoft is denying that there is a security hole in the User Account Control (UAC) feature of Windows 7 after a blogger reported it last week

Microsoft is denying that there is a security hole in the User Account Control (UAC) feature of Windows 7 after a blogger reported it last week and posted what he said was a fix for it.

"I can tell you that this is not a vulnerability," a spokesman for Microsoft through its public relations team said in an e-mail.

Last week, Long Zheng, a long-time Microsoft watcher and blogger, wrote on his I Started Something Blog that a change Microsoft made in Windows 7 to improve the UAC security feature has left the new OS less secure because it allows someone to remotely turn the feature off without the user knowing.

Zheng said that the new UAC default setting, which does not notify a user when changes are made to Windows settings, is where the security risk lies. A change to UAC is seen as a change to a Windows setting, so a user will not be notified if UAC is disabled, which Zheng said he was able to do remotely with some keyboard shortcuts and code.

However, Microsoft is standing by the change to UAC's default setting, saying it was the result of "a great deal of usability feedback on UAC prompting behavior," and that the feature cannot be exploited unless there is already malicious code running on the machine and "something else has already been breached."

"The intent of the default configuration of UAC is that users don't get prompted when making changes to Windows settings," the spokesman said. "This includes changing the UAC prompting level."

UAC has been a controversial feature since Microsoft introduced it in Windows Vista to improve its security and give people who are the primary users of a PC more control over its applications and settings. The features prevents users without administrative privileges from making unauthorized changes to a system.

Because of how it was set up in Vista, UAC sometimes -- through a series of screen prompts -- prevents even authorized users from being able to access applications and features they should normally have access to. Microsoft vowed it would make changes to the feature to make it more user-friendly in Windows 7.

Windows 7 has been in public beta for about a month and not expected to ship until early next year. However, Microsoft said Friday the next release of the OS would be a nearly final release candidate and not another beta release, so some believe it will be out before the end of 2009.

Join the newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.
Rocket to Success - Your 10 Tips for Smarter ERP System Selection

Tags Windows 7user account control

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Elizabeth Montalbano

IDG News Service
Show Comments

Cool Tech

SanDisk MicroSDXC™ for Nintendo® Switch™

Learn more >

Breitling Superocean Heritage Chronographe 44

Learn more >

Toys for Boys

Family Friendly

Panasonic 4K UHD Blu-Ray Player and Full HD Recorder with Netflix - UBT1GL-K

Learn more >

Stocking Stuffer

Razer DeathAdder Expert Ergonomic Gaming Mouse

Learn more >

Christmas Gift Guide

Click for more ›

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Edwina Hargreaves

WD My Cloud Home

I would recommend this device for families and small businesses who want one safe place to store all their important digital content and a way to easily share it with friends, family, business partners, or customers.

Walid Mikhael

Brother QL-820NWB Professional Label Printer

It’s easy to set up, it’s compact and quiet when printing and to top if off, the print quality is excellent. This is hands down the best printer I’ve used for printing labels.

Ben Ramsden

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

Brainstorming, innovation, problem solving, and negotiation have all become much more productive and valuable if people can easily collaborate in real time with minimal friction.

Sarah Ieroianni

Brother QL-820NWB Professional Label Printer

The print quality also does not disappoint, it’s clear, bold, doesn’t smudge and the text is perfectly sized.

Ratchada Dunn

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

The Huddle Board’s built in program; Sharp Touch Viewing software allows us to easily manipulate and edit our documents (jpegs and PDFs) all at the same time on the dashboard.

George Khoury

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

The biggest perks for me would be that it comes with easy to use and comprehensive programs that make the collaboration process a whole lot more intuitive and organic

Featured Content

Product Launch Showcase

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?