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Microsoft Outlines Windows Phone 7 Kill Switch

samzenpus posted more than 4 years ago | from the stopped-in-its-tracks dept.

Microsoft 258

nk497 writes "Microsoft has outlined how it might use the little publicized 'kill switch' in Windows Phone 7 handsets. 'We don't really talk about it publicly because the focus is on testing of apps to make sure they're okay, but in the rare event that we need to, we have the tools to take action,' said Todd Biggs, director of product management for Windows Phone Marketplace. According to Biggs, Microsoft's strict testing of apps when they are submitted for inclusion in Marketplace should minimize kill switch use, but he explained how the company could remove apps from the marketplace or phones, when devices check-in to the system. 'We could unpublish it from the catalog so that it was no longer available, but if it was very rogue then we could remove applications from handsets — we don't want things to go that far, but we could.'"

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hmm (1)

Ryanrule (1657199) | more than 4 years ago | (#34114818)

this seems baiting....

Re:hmm (2, Insightful)

swanzilla (1458281) | more than 4 years ago | (#34114886)

this seems baiting....

...until someone points out that Apple and Google did this before M$

Re:hmm (3, Insightful)

mcgrew (92797) | more than 4 years ago | (#34114986)

TFA pointed it out. I decided quite some time ago I'm just going to keep using my dumb phone; It's just smart enough to make calls, take calls, text, email, and access a limited internet.

I don't want a third party screwing around with MY property, thanks.

Re:hmm (2, Funny)

pak9rabid (1011935) | more than 4 years ago | (#34115122)

Ooooh goooooood for you! </Christian Bale>

Re:hmm (1)

thePowerOfGrayskull (905905) | more than 4 years ago | (#34115314)

Might I recommend BlackBerry? To my knowledge, there is no such control when it comes to the specific applications you install (though of course, service providers can make service level changes... but that's no different from your dumb phone)

Also, I just happened to recall that I know this guy who makes a great SSH client for it... :D

Re:hmm (1)

Znork (31774) | more than 4 years ago | (#34115458)

The Nokia N900 is fairly safe as well; apt repositories usually don't perform actions the user doesn't request.

Re:hmm (1)

poetmatt (793785) | more than 4 years ago | (#34115530)

wha? they can only take away app store stuff - not everything.

Re:hmm (2, Insightful)

gilesjuk (604902) | more than 4 years ago | (#34115046)

Indeed. Plus Apple have never used it yet but Google have. So who are the bad guys?

Re:hmm (4, Funny)

Yvan256 (722131) | more than 4 years ago | (#34115080)

Commodore, for sitting on their asses and letting the Amiga fall behind the competition?

Re:hmm (1, Interesting)

RoFLKOPTr (1294290) | more than 4 years ago | (#34115108)

Indeed. Plus Apple have never used it yet but Google have. So who are the bad guys?

Google has used it because the Android app store is not strictly regulated for entry. Google takes down malicious apps AFTER they've been made available to the world. So their use of the kill switch is actually a good thing.

Re:hmm (3, Insightful)

countertrolling (1585477) | more than 4 years ago | (#34115116)

So who are the bad guys?

Everybody.

Re:hmm (4, Insightful)

adisakp (705706) | more than 4 years ago | (#34115354)

So who are the bad guys?

Everybody.

I think you've not only figured out big business, but politics as well.

Re:hmm (2, Insightful)

shentino (1139071) | more than 4 years ago | (#34115682)

Nice guys get their throats cut and their backs stab.

They aren't even finishing last.

Re:hmm (1)

Amouth (879122) | more than 4 years ago | (#34115412)

Apple hasn't?

http://www.slashgear.com/ndrive-gps-app-disappears-from-apple-app-store-kill-switch-the-culprit-0893419/

if you don't like the site check around

Re:hmm (1)

Geoffrey.landis (926948) | more than 4 years ago | (#34115158)

this seems baiting....

...until someone points out that Apple and Google did this before M$

Also Amazon.

Proactive virus and bot protection (0, Troll)

BadAnalogyGuy (945258) | more than 4 years ago | (#34114842)

How sad that the phone is so insecure that malicious code could run.

Too bad they don't really have a way to turn off programs that have already overwritten system code.

Re:Proactive virus and bot protection (2, Funny)

QuantumBeep (748940) | more than 4 years ago | (#34114868)

How sad that the phone is so insecure that malicious code could run.

Everything can run malic... wait...

Oh, OK. Trolling. Carry on then.

Re:Proactive virus and bot protection (1)

Sylak (1611137) | more than 4 years ago | (#34114930)

Nice going at making assumptions before the OS is on the market. Win7 Phone is going to be a locked iPhone like system for apps, so it's an issue of "if an app does something we didn't see" not "if malicious code installs itself"

NSA Key (1)

Compaqt (1758360) | more than 4 years ago | (#34114846)

2.0?

Re:NSA Key (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#34115054)

No...Standard feature on all current smartphones...

Re:NSA Key (1, Funny)

sharkey (16670) | more than 4 years ago | (#34115236)

!seineew era sreenigne enohPi

Re:NSA Key (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#34115648)

2.0?

Not likely -- the NSA understands a bit about security, so their key will be at least 56-bits. And probably with more than one of those bits set.

This should be good (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#34114866)

Looking forward to Slashdot telling me how Microsoft is teh evil but Google [readwriteweb.com] is OK.

Re:This should be good (3, Insightful)

TheRaven64 (641858) | more than 4 years ago | (#34115526)

I think, after some years of practicing, most Slashdot readers are now able to accept that there is more than one evil company.

Re:This should be good (1)

N!k0N (883435) | more than 4 years ago | (#34115784)

M$ AND Apple? :)

Before people start in on MS..... (4, Informative)

rwven (663186) | more than 4 years ago | (#34114874)

http://www.readwriteweb.com/archives/google_activates_android_kill_switch_zaps_useless_apps.php [readwriteweb.com]

http://news.cnet.com/8301-13579_3-10010070-37.html [cnet.com]

Both Android and the iPhone have kill switches as well.

Google has actually used theirs.

Re:Before people start in on MS..... (1, Informative)

Amouth (879122) | more than 4 years ago | (#34115426)

So has Apple for NDrive

Re:Before people start in on MS..... (0)

quacking duck (607555) | more than 4 years ago | (#34115728)

From your CNET link: "Until Apple explains why it has included this function, or an application appears on the blacklist and is wiped from someone's phone, it's all just the usual leaping to conclusions on a sleepy Thursday in August"

It's also 2-year old *speculation*. Googling "iphone kill switch" reveals *zero* times this has actually been used, and there are plenty of apps that Apple has pulled for violating whatever rules it had at the time, but remain in your iTunes downloads and still run fine on normal, non-jailbroken iPhones and iPods.

Meanwhile, Android and Kindle have both already used their kill switches to remove apps and books from the user's own devices, and Microsoft have declared this a possibility too.

Apple, meanwhile, has remained mum on this. The technology is there in case it's needed, but just like the TPM in Intel Macs, Apple might just end up not using it.

Another Brilliant Microsoft Innovation! (4, Insightful)

Yvan256 (722131) | more than 4 years ago | (#34114876)

Brought to you by Apple.

Re:Another Brilliant Microsoft Innovation! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#34115398)

I'm wondering, is Microsoft entirely banking on the assumption that people find Steve Jobs and Google to be Evil(tm) now, and that the population of the world collectively has the long-term memory of a tubeworm with regards to Microsoft?

"Microsoft: Doing what everyone else was doing two years ago, but doing it worse! We're not Apple, we swear! That's why you should buy our products now!"

Re:Another Brilliant Microsoft Innovation! (1)

jhigh (657789) | more than 4 years ago | (#34115702)

And how is this any different than Apple pretending that all of the "new" features that they're putting into the iPhone weren't on Android phones first?

Re:Another Brilliant Microsoft Innovation! (1)

Yvan256 (722131) | more than 4 years ago | (#34115892)

Apple usually puts emphasis on how the features are easy-to-use, not about how they're the first to do it.

As examples, they weren't the first ones to offer smartphones or MP3 players but they sure made these popular with the non-technical crowds by making these things much easier to use.

Re:Another Brilliant Microsoft Innovation! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#34115604)

Apple fanbois. As annoying as an Old Navy commercial. Hardware kill switches existed long before the beloved iPhone and are too numerous. But if you want a software instance, Vista did this before Apple. I'm not sure if it was dropped or moved (e.g. WGA).

I'm not as bothered as I should be (4, Interesting)

QuantumBeep (748940) | more than 4 years ago | (#34114890)

Buying a mobile phone is already such an exercise in trust, I have a hard time worrying about a remote app kill switch.

Re:I'm not as bothered as I should be (2, Insightful)

CosmeticLobotamy (155360) | more than 4 years ago | (#34115806)

I don't understand why worrying is what this makes people do. There's nothing stopping someone from writing an app that appears useful, waits until June 2nd, 2011, then does the most malicious thing the phone's sandbox will allow it to do. At that point, if the phone becomes unusable for 20,000 people, or if it becomes a plague spreader, or if it starts making calls to Pakistani phone sex lines while you're asleep, but on the outside it still appears to be a friendly purple gorilla so people don't delete it themselves, someone has the power to kill it. Good.

Yes, priority should be on making sure the app can't do anything you don't want it to do, and I'm sure that effort is being made, but things will be missed.

They can stop you from running things they don't like, sure, but it's not like this is a purely evil tool. If I were designing it, I'd put it in, too.

So they sell it, make a buck, then take it? (2, Insightful)

mr_mischief (456295) | more than 4 years ago | (#34114902)

I always thought selling me something then taking it back was theft.

Re:So they sell it, make a buck, then take it? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#34114924)

Presumably, if an app makes one's phone explode and Microsoft has to kill it, they'll also deliver a refund.

Re:So they sell it, make a buck, then take it? (1)

Anon-Admin (443764) | more than 4 years ago | (#34115178)

Did you not learn from the laptops, Microsoft does not give refunds.

You will need to see the maker of the application. Microsoft would just be the company protecting you my removing it from your handset.

Personally, I dont need protection. Where is the off switch for there kill switch? (Dont really care if it is a ms product, apple product, google product, or a ford product)

Just like the one that iPhone,Android,&Kindle (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#34114920)

Total non-story.

Re:Just like the one that iPhone,Android,&Kind (1)

Ruke (857276) | more than 4 years ago | (#34115540)

Not a total non-story. It's good to be reminded that the capability exists, even if we come to the consensus that it's not a big deal, or even that it's a good thing. Not ever story on Slashdot has to result in moral outrage. Sometimes we can look at something and say "Yeah, that's probably and okay feature to have."

Re:Just like the one that iPhone,Android,&Kind (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#34115718)

WHAT?! That statement is utterly preposterous!

Remember, kids... (5, Insightful)

kurokame (1764228) | more than 4 years ago | (#34114936)

If someone else can come in remotely and change what you've got installed, it's not your system and it's not your software.

But we encourage you to think of it as your own - it makes the fees hurt less, and we can always straighten you out on the details of ownership later.

Re:Remember, kids... (3, Insightful)

rwven (663186) | more than 4 years ago | (#34114994)

If people don't like the platform, they don't have to use it (yet).

Re:Remember, kids... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#34115114)

So I have to be stuck on Windows Mobile 6 forever, then.

Ironically, I bought a WM 6 phone because of this and the openness in general.

Re:Remember, kids... (4, Interesting)

rwven (663186) | more than 4 years ago | (#34115130)

You could always root/jailbreak your android/iphone and disable the kill switch.

Re:Remember, kids... (1)

flowwolf (1824892) | more than 4 years ago | (#34115260)

you'll be able to do that with windows phone 7 as well. obviously they want protections in place to satisfy digital rights fanatics, but we'll see a jailbroken wp7 in no time. Microsoft has to allow it in order to compete.

Re:Remember, kids... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#34115436)

I don't even know what's going on with my phone's kill switch, I'm running Cyanogen 6..

Re:Remember, kids... (2, Insightful)

Amouth (879122) | more than 4 years ago | (#34115454)

somethings gone wrong when you have to root/jailbreak the linux devices do do what you want but the windows ones are open..

(except this newest version of windows.. but it isn't exactly out yet so i don't count it)

Re:Remember, kids... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#34115632)

somethings gone wrong when you have to root/jailbreak the linux devices do do what you want but the windows ones are open..

(except this newest version of windows.. but it isn't exactly out yet so i don't count it)

Well, maybe what you want to do with it.

When the other 99% of the world doesn't really want to or care to do it, maybe you should reconsider who or what's "gone wrong". Sometimes the lone wolf everyone disagrees with isn't the revolutionary hero of legend he thinks he is.

Re:Remember, kids... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#34115804)

Nope, you don't need to on Android. Android is OPEN, which means you can do ANYTHING you want to with it. It has no restrictions on it like stupid dumb Apple or stupid dumb Microsoft. Android is freedom, and all you have to do is say a prayer to the open-source fairy and proclaim "OPEN SESAME" and you can remove that kill switch from your completely-open phone.

Re:Remember, kids... (1, Insightful)

melikamp (631205) | more than 4 years ago | (#34115276)

This is a general purpose computer we are talking about, so it's not even your hardware in any meaningful sense of the word. What you own is a plastic-silicon brick which can function as a computer whenever Microsoft is feeling generous. You are basically renting a computer without an administrative account. Run afoul of the contract terms, and you are back to owning a brick.

Fuck you Microsoft, and fuck you Apple: if you are marginally better now, it won't last long. The only big players poised to create a completely free phone now are Google and the firms behind MeeGo.

Too grainular (2, Insightful)

Nethead (1563) | more than 4 years ago | (#34114976)

If the handset is causing issues with the network because of a rouge application just shut down the handset. (Well, allow 911 or your local PSAP number.) This, hopefully, would be just an AUP issue. Sometimes a hammer is the right tool.

Re:Too grainular (3, Insightful)

amicusNYCL (1538833) | more than 4 years ago | (#34115102)

You're saying that it's better to disable the entire device instead of remove the one offending application? I'm not sure how you made that conclusion, but how would the owner recover their device if Microsoft shut the entire thing down? Should Microsoft or any handset vendor be allowed to simply disable the entire device?

Re:Too grainular (4, Insightful)

IndustrialComplex (975015) | more than 4 years ago | (#34115226)

You're saying that it's better to disable the entire device instead of remove the one offending application?

It can actually be less intrusive. I have no 'right' to use a network, so if I am screwing up the network because of an app I have, kicking me off the network doesn't do anything to MY equipment.

It means I can install whatever I want on my phone and no backdoors are needed.

Think of it like renting a car to someone. You can do whatever the hell you like to your body, but I don't want you smoking in my car. I refuse you the car, but I don't confiscate your cigarettes.

Re:Too grainular (1)

Nethead (1563) | more than 4 years ago | (#34115294)

I meant to say, shut off the radio.

Re:Too grainular (3, Funny)

sempir (1916194) | more than 4 years ago | (#34115198)

If I were to put rouge on my handset my neighbours son would be SO...SO jealous.

Re:Too grainular (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#34115510)

Not even that: just have the handset flashing an alert that said: app X is found to be malicious. Disable its access to the net and/or remove it. Failing to do so will make you accountable for any damage your phone may cause to the network and other customers. Have a nice day.

Thanks for the warning. (1, Insightful)

Cornwallis (1188489) | more than 4 years ago | (#34114992)

"...we could remove applications from handsets - we don't want things to go that far, but we could."

Now I have no need to even consider getting one.

Re:Thanks for the warning. (1)

dgower2 (1487929) | more than 4 years ago | (#34115148)

Now I have no desire to even consider getting one. FTFY

Re:Thanks for the warning. (1)

internewt (640704) | more than 4 years ago | (#34115850)

Go GOP! Who voted for the dems in the first place??? Morons.

That's MORANS. If you are going to show your support for the system that keeps the same type of people in power all the time, at least use the correct sub-language for your team!

Re:Thanks for the warning. (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#34115160)

Look, it's time to face reality. This is 2010, not 1990. This is a FEATURE for most people, not a drawback. They are sick and fed up with PCs and malware/spyware and anything that helps avoid this problem is worth more to them, not less.

Apple does the same thing with iDevices and they are doing a brisk business and battling with Google for supremacy in the mobile computing space. The market has spoken, and it wants a safer computing experience which is provided by this ability.

Re:Thanks for the warning. (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#34115588)

Don't forget, users also don't want to care about security. If people had a computer/device with no accessible admin root privs, an App Store that would slap down a word processor, Web browser, and maybe a version of Solitaire, there would be few complaints from the Joe Sixpack gallery, especially with an app store that is popular. If Apple or Microsoft managed security for them, if/when their machine gets nailed, they could blame someone else, not their own lack of interest in basic sanitation.

I fear desktop computing will go down these lines of mobile computing, just because Apple and Microsoft [1] don't want to be blamed for security issues that are not their problem, Joe Sixpack has absolutely zero interest in zipping up his fly in regards to computer security, and there is pressure for more OS based DRM from the big software houses (whose dream is making the desktop as locked down as the console.)

[1]: Ironic that I have never encountered a single security issue with malware on Windows Mobile 6.5 and earlier, even though that platform on touch screen devices is completely open by default.

Re:Thanks for the warning. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#34115788)

This is DRM in its purest and nastiest form. It may be a feature for you, but it's sure as shit not a feature for me. The shackles are loose now, but many people will be humming a different tune once they're tightened.

Re:Thanks for the warning. (1)

Syberz (1170343) | more than 4 years ago | (#34115830)

Although it would be nice if it was optional, i.e. you receive a notice email/message telling you what the issue is with Ignore and Remove Offending App buttons.

Re:Thanks for the warning. (0, Troll)

JustNiz (692889) | more than 4 years ago | (#34115838)

Seriously?
You would be happy to pay $100's for a phone protected by Microsoft security then find out some anonymous IT person remotely bricked it without your prior permission when it picked up a virus? You'd buy that? Really?

Can I interest you in some swamp^H^H^H^H^H waterfront property I have for sale?

Re:Thanks for the warning. (5, Insightful)

amicusNYCL (1538833) | more than 4 years ago | (#34115188)

Now I have no need to even consider getting one.

Nor an iPhone, nor an Android device, nor a Palm webOS device, nor a BlackBerry (assuming you're on a BES system). Indeed, when your world is black and white many decisions are easy.

Re:Thanks for the warning. (3, Insightful)

microbee (682094) | more than 4 years ago | (#34115418)

Now I have no need to even consider getting one.

I doubt you would get one anyways.

Nokia (1)

Compaqt (1758360) | more than 4 years ago | (#34115018)

Anybody know if they have such a switch?

Given how much their phones (going forward) are pretty much open, I wonder where they'd put a killswitch.

Re:Nokia (3, Interesting)

angiasaa (758006) | more than 4 years ago | (#34115162)

No, Nokia does not have a Kill Switch. However, in the event of a rogue app infestation on their smart-phones, Nokia is capable of pushing an app to excavate the offending app before initiating a self-distruct. This is done with the users permission and discretion via the pre-installed Software Update app.

Imagery (1, Interesting)

rakuen (1230808) | more than 4 years ago | (#34115082)

Am I the only person who envisions some mad scientist in a far off laboratory cackling with glee as he throws the switch to remove a program from your phone, all while lightning flashes and thunder crashes in the background?

Re:Imagery (1)

DarthVain (724186) | more than 4 years ago | (#34115186)

I think my imagination was more literal.

I see Bill Gates/Ballmer laughing maniacally at a big red button with my name under it ready to detonate the 3oz of C4 I have next to my ear...

Re:Imagery (1)

IndustrialComplex (975015) | more than 4 years ago | (#34115252)

What about smoke filled dimly lit rooms where a man in a highbacked leather chair muses for several pregnant moments before uttering:

I want it dead.

Kill the kill switch! (1)

countertrolling (1585477) | more than 4 years ago | (#34115170)

Is there an app for that?

We should applaud Microsoft for security (4, Insightful)

SuperKendall (25149) | more than 4 years ago | (#34115202)

Microsoft has made a lot of poor security choices in the past, so we should praise them when they do something that will improve the general level of mobile application security. All mobile platforms to-date have kill mechanisms, for the average user it's a great thing to be able to shut down a rogue app en-masse and not have to wait for even an update cycle.

Experienced technical users will ALWAYS have the equivalent of Jailbreaking to prevent applications from being removed or modified externally if they so wish. But that is a choice that should be made by a technically informed person after consideration, not a default configuration that the general public has to live with the repercussions from for the next decade.

Re:We should applaud Microsoft for security (2, Interesting)

rakuen (1230808) | more than 4 years ago | (#34115380)

Why not just make it an option? Not an option you'd just randomly stumble across and disable, mind you. I mean it's in a very specific place in the configuration, and when you toggle it, it pops up a disclaimer explaining what you are going to do and asking you if you are sure you want to accept the risk. Once you agree, anything that happens to your phone is on you.

Note, I'm not talking about a "Jailbreak" option, because that'll never happen. I'm talking about a "Disable Killswitch" option.

Re:We should applaud Microsoft for security (1)

SuperKendall (25149) | more than 4 years ago | (#34115836)

Why not just make it an option? Not an option you'd just randomly stumble across and disable, mind you. I mean it's in a very specific place in the configuration, and when you toggle it, it pops up a disclaimer explaining what you are going to do and asking you if you are sure you want to accept the risk.

If you are going to all that trouble to prevent someone from doing it, why even include the ability to do so?

What you described actually sounds more annoying than jailbreaking, and has less utility in the end. Who would opt to do this? To what end? I can see people being scared into de-activating the killswitch because they are worried the big bad company will come and kill all the applications. But then they are more vulnerable to a real problem, and what gain was had for them?

I just see more potential for harm to people than potential for gain, if you make this configurable.

Re:We should applaud Microsoft for security (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#34115888)

Because the VERY first thing a rogue application is going to be programmed to do is disable the killswitch.

I mean seriously... that's like saying every single computer should have a "show all passwords to all programs" button.

Re:We should applaud Microsoft for security (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#34115470)

Which is why the right way to do it is with a configuration setting that you help the user select at purchase/installation time and through user training. Yes, people don't want training, but that's the price of using a complicated feature rich application. Give people the option to

    1) enable automatic remote kill
    2) enable automatic remote kill prompting
    3) disable it
    4) enable it on sync
    5) subscribe to push notifications of kill requests

There's lots of ways to handle this--but automatic remote kill is only one of them, and the last tech friendly. Not just because geeks don't like DRM, but because it exposes all applications to a very real Denial of Service risk. What happens when somebody spoofs a remote kill to my VPN adapter or its corporate nameserver? What about remote killing my asset management application that scans barcodes (even if poorly) from the camera?

Hell, doctors have PHI on phones these days--you *need* remote kill on that app, but the consequences of deletion could be medically deadly.

Point us--remote kill isn't wrong because it's remote kill. It's wrong because there's no choice or control without jailbreaking it.

Re:We should applaud Microsoft for security (2, Insightful)

SuperKendall (25149) | more than 4 years ago | (#34115786)

What happens when somebody spoofs a remote kill to my VPN adapter or its corporate nameserver?

Much less than what happens than when the 1% of users that change the configuration just because they can, get hit by a keylogger that cannot be removed.

Even though all modern smartphone platforms have this ability we have yet to see such a denial of service attack, and at worst it would be a minor inconvenience compared to damage a more lax security policy can cause, even one where you can simply configure it to be more lax.

For one thing it would require spoofing the exact server responses to a device attempting to access them main server from a WiFi location that the device joins (since a man in the middle attack when the device is using the cell network is much more impractical), which means the potential attack vector is limited to a tiny pool of devices in an isolated physical location. Compare that to the risk of letting users configure security policy across millions of devices. Large corporations do not let most people "opt out" of strict security policies, and I don't think smart-phone vendors should either. Again, for those with some corner case technical need, there will always be hacks (in the true sense of the word) to get around a system. But some things you just don't want to open up to the average user, especially in terms of security - we have all lived through decades of problems caused by doing so.

A baffling non sequitor (1)

HalAtWork (926717) | more than 4 years ago | (#34115206)

We don't really talk about it publicly because the focus is on testing of apps to make sure they're okay

How does information about this topic relate to (or even prevent) people from testing apps?

Re:A baffling non sequitor (1)

miserere nobis (1332335) | more than 4 years ago | (#34115250)

Arguably, in the same way that the information that the U.S. Supreme Court will overturn unconstitutional laws prevents Congress from testing its bills thoroughly for Constitutionality.

Re:A baffling non sequitor (4, Informative)

Code Master (164951) | more than 4 years ago | (#34115274)

What he's saying is that if MS tests the apps well enough to prevent bad apps from making it into the marketplace, then they won't need to use the kill switch.

So they are focusing on their primary line of defense being the acceptance testing.

Re:A baffling non sequitor (1)

rakuen (1230808) | more than 4 years ago | (#34115442)

It's also because when you start talking about a "kill-switch" or similar function, the average consumer gets antsy. People want to have control over goods they purchase and what is done with them. They don't like to think of other people making the decision for them, whether or not the decision is made out of benevolence.

Another reason to keep my Blackberry? (1)

scottbomb (1290580) | more than 4 years ago | (#34115262)

I can list many, but the main reason I wouldn't even consider an Apple product (and now perhaps MS) is the ability of the company to dictate what apps I can have and what I can't have. If I understand correctly, an iPhone owner can only get apps that are "approved" by Apple. Ditto MS & Droid?? I do know that RIM doesn't care what I put on my device because it's MY DEVICE. I BOUGHT IT.

Re:Another reason to keep my Blackberry? (3, Interesting)

alen (225700) | more than 4 years ago | (#34115362)

except with RIM all of your data flows through the Blackberry Internet Service so all they have to do is block it there. at least with apple and google there is no middle proxy between the carrier and the internet

Re:Another reason to keep my Blackberry? (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#34115406)

Another clueless person...
Assuming you were to get an iPhone (but you won't because of ignorant brand-hatred), you could jailbreak it - which legal because you own the device. Then you could do whatever you want with it and install apps not approved by Apple.
Same goes for Android and I'm sure the same will go for Windows 7 phones.

Don't be such a troll because the hardware/software vendor is actually pro-active at trying damn hard to ensure the user experience is optimal and your personal information doesn't end up all over the Internet. If every computer user in the world was as smart as you are, there probably would not be any rampant malware on such a large number of Windows computers in the world.

Rare and non-rare events . . . (1)

PolygamousRanchKid (1290638) | more than 4 years ago | (#34115278)

but in the rare event that we need to, we have the tools to take action

And, but in the non-rare event where we don't intend to, we have the tools to take action, by mistake.

"Yo! Who hit the kill switch?"

Oy vey... (3, Funny)

jamrock (863246) | more than 4 years ago | (#34115342)

'We could unpublish it from the catalog so that it was no longer available, but if it was very rogue then we could remove applications from handsets - we don't want things to go that far, but we could.'

"Unpublish it"? As opposed to simply de-listing it, or removing it from the catalog? "Very rogue"? I had no idea there was a spectrum of roguishness. I sincerely hope that English is his second language. I don't feel the need to correct the spelling or grammar of Slashdot commentators, but this guy is speaking on behalf of a giant corporation.

They should have one in PC Windows too... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#34115484)

...and kill security risks such as Internet Explorer.

Cell phones... Are we missing the "phone"? (1)

SmackTheIgnorant (985978) | more than 4 years ago | (#34115512)

Am I the only one who's a little purturbed at the lack of phone functionality a lot of these new smartphones have?
Mind you, I have an iPhone, but I mainly use it as a phone with some apps which increase business functionality. I'm just curious why there would be a need to use said "killswitch" on a phone - unlicensed app? illegal app? immoral app (such as malware / viruses)?

Re:Cell phones... Are we missing the "phone"? (3, Informative)

SmackTheIgnorant (985978) | more than 4 years ago | (#34115542)

Sorry, too many thoughts, too much incoherance...
1 - Phones need more phones. not less apps - just more phone functionality
2 - kill switch - this "could" go badly, but I'd like to see the history of use... Malicious app - Definitely see the use of it. Pirated app? Unlicensed app? Non-approved app? Patched app? These are more of a "Would they? Just because they can doesn't mean they should or will."

Kill switch in Windows is not new. (1)

Bobakitoo (1814374) | more than 4 years ago | (#34115524)

I remember winnuke in 1995 was use to halt "displeasing" remote windows host.

Orwell would be proud (1)

noidentity (188756) | more than 4 years ago | (#34115536)

We don't really talk about it publicly because the focus is on testing of apps to make sure they're okay, but in the rare event that we need to

More like, in the event that it would benefit us, regardless of its cost to you. Seriously, when the hell does anyone need to remotely kill some app on your phone? ... Yeah, I thought so.

Apparenlty they're not for sale... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#34115620)

....anyone want to rent a win 7 phone?

I am in quicksand... with no way out! HELP! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#34115700)

I live in a society of "educated" idiots who seem to think features like this are a good idea. I am the only one who realizes that nobody, EVER, for any reason should be able to reach in my hardware and remove ANYTHING. It is a bad precedent. Period.

What would happen if MS gets threatened by some third-party app vendor to remove a program from users' phones? Who are they going to appease, the worthless consumer, or the company pressing a lawsuit? We already saw this with the Swindle. How many times do the morons that make up this population need to be subjected to what (in my opinion) amounts to a break-in and theft?

"Yo dog, we thought you had a virus on your computer, so we picked your lock, looked at the installed software on your machine and cleaned it up for you!"

Even if I resist this, the rest of the idiots won't. Every computer and microprocessor-infused device on the planet will soon have these features. At least nobody can remotely delete my Linux inst.............

Oh at this time... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#34115720)

I was about to say something at this opportune time about how I enjoy Open, Free Software as it is Free as in freedom but also free from 'kill switches' that allow private corporations (evil or not) from dictating how I use a product I paid for, whether they like how I use it or not. I know that many people loved walled gardens, but I am not one of them. I like my freedom. Go ahead, enjoy your slavery if it suits you. Thank you for your time. P.S. I am not new here, not at all.

Here's a thought (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#34115766)

How about using your phone for making phone calls, and your computer as a computer? I have an ancient flip-phone that does little other than make phone calls and has the VZ navigator. I've never wanted for anything else. This is all so stupid. Now, get off my lawn.

Obviously, defeating the kill switch is 1st hack (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#34115846)

I think this will take a week, max.

Define: Very Rogue (3, Interesting)

LoyalOpposition (168041) | more than 4 years ago | (#34115854)

We could unpublish it from the catalog so that it was no longer available, but if it was very rogue then we could remove applications from handsets - we don't want things to go that far, but we could

I wonder whether "very rogue" is anything like when Windows Genuine Advantage was classified as a security update, and pushed out with the rest of the critical patches.

~Loyal

Rally? (1)

jitterman (987991) | more than 4 years ago | (#34115864)

It's too bad Jon Stewart didn't include "scary #^%@ companies do to us" in his Rally to Restore Sanity. I mean, yes, it'd be very nice if companies that sold us hardware let us use it how we want to, and it would CERTAINLY be nice if FaceBook would get real with their privacy issues, but honestly, I don't think kill switches are anything to get overly concerned about. It's not as if they're going to randomly laugh maniacally and start wiping random people's phones out for fun.

Is it great that they (ALL of them, except maybe RIM) retain tons of control? Not really. But if the intent is to keep your hardware safe from malicious code, at least the intent is partially positive. Not saying it's not there for other potential uses, too (kill a rooted phone, etc), but still, I don't think random death is going to occur either.
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