Techie Tuesday: Requiem for the Active Desktop
Remember the good old Active Desktop? I sure do. You could set a web page as your wallpaper, or put it in a box on your desktop. Along with Gadgets, it was a cool way to customize your work space. Also along with Gadgets, Active Desktop was removed. After all, control of your desktop needs to stay with Microsoft, right?
Poor sad us. I had the best custom desktop with hand-crafted code that dipped into the right folders on my computer or out into the web seamlessly. And just like that – poof! No more fun.
Why? Below is the turdish “Executive Summary” which really makes you wonder how a web browser could ever be safe to use if all of these things are true?
Here’s the executive poodoo:
Microsoft is announcing disabling Windows Sidebar and Gadgets to protect customers from potential attacks that leverage Gadgets to execute arbitrary code. Customers should consider the following ways that an attacker could leverage Gadgets to execute arbitrary code: Microsoft is aware that some legitimate Gadgets running in Windows Sidebar could contain vulnerabilities. An attacker who successfully exploited a Gadget vulnerability could run arbitrary code in the context of the current user. If the current user is logged on with administrative user rights, an attacker could take complete control of the affected system.
An attacker could create a malicious Gadget and then trick a user into installing the malicious Gadget. Once installed, the malicious Gadget could run arbitrary code in the context of the current user. If the current user is logged on with administrative user rights, an attacker could take complete control of the affected system.
In addition, they warn, “Gadgets can access your computer’s files, show you objectionable content, or change their behavior at any time. Gadgets could also potentially harm your computer.” So let’s not fix that? Perhaps they are really insurmountable technical challenges for the world’s greatest programmers, or perhaps this was just more software chicanery.
Alas, such is the death of power and control by the proletariat. RIP Active Desktop.