Interestingly, Microsoft has dropped Gadgets from the upcoming Windows 8. Now an independent security analyst, he regularly makes media appearances and gives computer security presentations.
You better find a new way to tell what time it is, or catch the latest from your favourite RSS feeds.
Sorry if it causes you any pain, but I would recommend you follow Microsoft’s advice if you run Windows 7 or Vista and apply their “Fix It tool” as soon as possible. Leave a comment below and let us know if you found them useful, or whether you won’t be mourning their demise.
It may be a sledgehammer to crack a nut – but it’s a nut that needs smashing, and fast. Follow @gcluley Graham Cluley runs his own award-winning computer security blog at https:// and is a veteran of the anti-virus industry having worked for a number of security companies since the early 1990s.
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 gadgets can be created, and the flaws they have found in published gadgets.
If the researchers have managed to find ways to exploit existing gadgets that’s particularly worrying.
Clearly Microsoft is worried about the security researchers’ findings, and has issued a “Fix It Tool” which will protect Windows 7 and Vista users by entirely disabling the Windows Sidebar and Gadgets functionality. Microsoft hasn’t issued a security patch to fix the vulnerability.
They’re suggesting you completely nuke your Windows Sidebar and Gadgets.