Attention morons who didn’t like UAC in Windows Vista, that thing that turns everything off whenever you make a change to Windows and asks for your password, Long Zheng would like to have a word with you. Because of a change in Windows 7, you can basically write a script that turns the function off completely, thereby creating gaping security holes similar to those found in every previous Microsoft product ever made.
The threat is this: by running a simple program, you can turn off UAC, restart the computer, embed something at boot time, and take control of the computer. Bingo – instant admin access. According to Zheng this is a simple fix for Microsoft:
This is the part where one would usually demand a large sum of money but since I’m feeling generous, there is a simple fix to this problem Microsoft can implement without sacrificing any of the benefits the new UAC model provides, and that is to force a UAC prompt in Secure Desktop mode whenever UAC is changed, regardless of its current state. This is not a fool-proof solution (users can still inadvertently click “yes”) but a simple one I would encourage Microsoft to implement seeing how they’re on a tight deadline to ship this.
Generally, though, what we see here is Microsoft, in an effort to pander to those who know little to nothing about security, has essentially disabled one of the things that would keep our parents from installing WeatherBug inadvertently. Sure UAC is annoying, but isn’t spyware more annoying?