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Why Windows 11 Could Be Embarrassingly Less Secure Than Windows 10

I’ve written at length about the hardware requirements for upgrading to Windows 11 from Windows 10. However, with the official launch of the new, supposedly more secure, Microsoft operating system slated for 5 October, the issue has taken on a new urgency for many would-be early adopters.

The Verge has reported that Microsoft won’t “block you from installing Windows 11 on a PC with an older CPU,” if you do so using a clean install from an ISO disk image file.

Meanwhile, Bleeping Computer reported that the Trusted Platform Module 2 (TPM2) requirement could be bypassed using the Windows 10 Media Creation Tool.

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Surely that can’t be the case, I thought, and so I approached Microsoft for clarification.

Does it mean that users of these unsupported Windows 11 installations will be able to get security updates manually from the Microsoft update catalog resource, I asked?

Indeed, I went as far as to ask Microsoft directly if it would confirm or deny the access to Windows Update issue.

Microsoft declined to provide on the record clarification

The first meaningful reply I got was to ask if I would be happy with being briefed, off the record, for background information? Dear reader, I would, and was, not.

A simple, on the record, confirmation or denial should not be too difficult to make, after all. At least you would think.

After a pause of some hours, a Microsoft spokesperson eventually provided the official, on the record, response: “Microsoft will have more to share at a later date.”

I was not alone in failing miserably to get this clarification of a crucial security point.

Sean Hollister, writing at The Verge, said: “Microsoft declined to clarify things further at this time, which suggests the company’s perfectly happy for us to assume this is a genuine threat.”

Security should not be an optional extra

Nor am I the only person who finds this stance somewhat frustrating.

“The idea, or rumor, that Microsoft will enable you to install Windows 11 in some sort of configuration which will not be supported by security patches is reckless and irresponsible,” Ian Thornton-Trump, the chief information security officer at threat intelligence specialists Cyjax, says. “If Windows 11 can’t or won’t be supported, then it should not be allowed to be licensed or installed,” Thornton-Trump continues, concluding, “safety and security have to be a priority, not an optional accessory.”

Anything less is, frankly, an embarrassment for Microsoft.

 

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