June 9, 2016
Windows 10 Forced Upgrade Allegedly Foils Hacker

A Windows 10 forced upgrade may have saved one user from a hacker who was in the middle of draining his accounts.

A Reddit user who goes by the handle, zelifcam, claims that a hacker had taken control of his computer via the popular desktop sharing software, TeamViewer. TechWorm reports that the hacker was allegedly in the process of draining funds from the user's PayPal and bank accounts, but zilifcam's post does not support that assertion.

"I was in the middle of being controlled but fortunately a Windows 10 upgrade suddenly started and kicked the hacker off. Then my version of teamviewer was removed automatically because it wasn't compatible."
Amid all the bad press Microsoft has been receiving for its "forced" Windows 10 upgrade, tech news outlets have been latching on to zilifcam's comment as if it were solid evidence that the update issue is not all bad.

The TechWorm headline reads, "For once Microsoft's forced Windows 10 update turns a savior."

Softpedia ran with the headline, "Good Guy Microsoft: TeamViewer Hacker Kicked Out by Forced Windows 10 Upgrade."

It is as if the media is desperately trying to write something positive about Microsoft and Windows 10. This sentiment is understandable. Writers are starved for good news on this topic lately.

However, after looking into the facts, it is unclear is zelifcam's statement is even true. There are a few points that make his claim suspect.

First, his comment was in response to a thread titled, "TeamViewer confirms number of hacked user accounts is 'significant' - still blaming LinkedIn breach."

While this in itself does not cast doubt on his claim, the fact that Redditors are notorious for being sarcastic in their comments does.


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Several TeamViewer users have suffered hacker attacks recently. Users of the software have reported that their computers have been penetrated and taken over remotely.

The company stated that the attacks are stemming from "unprecedented large scale [sic] data thefts on popular social media platforms and other web service providers," according to the BBC.

Could it be that zelifcam was poking fun at both TeamViewer, and the Windows 10 forced upgrade fiasco, for the recent problems that they have been facing? When looked at in this way, his comment certainly has that snarky tone that is so common on Reddit.

There is also the fact that many other users do not believe him.

"I read it as something that was very clearly a joke," one Redditor writes.

Another commented, "It's as real as my kindergarten friend who can jump so high he landed on the moon."

Reddit user tech_greek points out, "Team Viewer has stayed on every computer that I upgraded to 10 (that had it)."

Even Softpedia notes that there is no way to verify zilifcam's statement.

Finally, the statement is also suspect because zelifcam makes no further comment on the incident. He does not elaborate, nor does he rebut his detractors. It is highly likely that he is just enjoying a good laugh at the other irreverent comments left in the wake of his own.

Even if his story is valid, it is hardly enough to lessen the flak that the forced Windows 10 upgrades have brought on Microsoft. Aside from only being one instance of something positive coming out of a mandated upgrade, there is the fact that zelifcam was still forced to upgrade. The incident can be likened to a neighborhood bully shoving all the other kids around and inadvertently pushing one out of the way of a speeding bus.

Microsoft has taken no actions to indicate that it will be relenting its aggressive campaign to switch users to Windows 10. However, there have been reports that when the free Windows 10 promotional period ends on July 29, Microsoft will relinquish its overbearing upgrading practices.

At that time perhaps users and the media will settle down, but for now, the only good news for Microsoft so far is that maybe its forced Windows 10 upgrade saved a user from being hacked.

[Photo by Craig Barritt/Getty Images]