Disable Windows Sidebar and Gadgets NOW on Vista and Windows 7. Microsoft warns of security risk

Graham Cluley
@gcluley

Users of Windows Vista and Windows 7 have been advised to completely disable their Windows Sidebar and Gadgets, in response to what appears to be a serious security risk.

The Windows Sidebar is a vertical bar that can appear at the side of your desktop, containing mini-programs (known as gadgets) that can provide a number of functions such as a clock, the latest news headlines, weather report and so forth.

A security advisory issued by Microsoft’s security team advises that vulnerabilities exist that could allow malicious code to be executed via the Windows Sidebar when running insecure Gadgets.

The warning comes ahead of a talk scheduled for Black Hat later this month by Mickey Shkatov and Toby Kohlenberg. Shkatov and Kohlenberg’s talk, entitled “We have you by the gadgets”, threatens to expose various attack vectors against gadgets, how malicious…

Read more in my article on the Naked Security website.

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Graham Cluley is a veteran of the anti-virus industry having worked for a number of security companies since the early 1990s when he wrote the first ever version of Dr Solomon's Anti-Virus Toolkit for Windows. Now an independent security analyst, he regularly makes media appearances and is an international public speaker on the topic of computer security, hackers, and online privacy. Follow him on Twitter at @gcluley, or drop him an email.

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