Will Windows 10 viruses work on phones

pericle

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Hi, I am just curious since Microsoft announced that there will only be one operating system, Windows 10, across all devises, whether Windows viruses will now work on Windows phones when Windows 10 is released?
 

dKp1977

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When you build a Windows Phone app it has a .exe
Apps will always need a starting point.



Ehm.. No. I don't know what WP apps you actually develop or have seen so far, mine and none I've ever been involved with have ever had a single exe or com file for that matter. That doesn't necessarily mean that they don't have files that are executable. But that starting point you're referring to is something - even though required from a certain point of view - that has shifted away from what classic desktop - Windows users mostly, as even Linux handles it differently - were used to.
 

a5cent

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But I thought the point of Windows 10 is to make it easier to port software across all devices, so wouldn't it be easy to port viruses just like normal software?
Viruses don't work the way you're likely imagining them to.

Modern apps run in a controlled runtime environment. Such apps are monitored to a far larger extent than traditional Win32 applications are. Getting a piece of software to do something malicious in such an environment is much harder than it is to do in a traditional desktop-like computing environment (like Windows, OSX or Android). Almost none of the mechanisms viruses traditionally use to infect other software work in such controlled runtime environments. The sandboxing is just one of many mechanisms that prevents malicious software from destroying/infecting anything but itself and it's own data.

That means that the only way such software can spread is through the Windows Store, for which Microsoft has screening procedures that catch and weed out most dubious software, long before a user would ever see it, not to mention that the developer could likely expect law enforcement turning up at their doorstep shortly afterwards.

Finally, no, Windows 10 and Windows 10 mobile (or whatever it will be called) are not the same thing. Modern apps will be very portable, but Win32 software won't run on W10 phones or tablets, which is where all the Windows related malware dwells.
 
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a5cent

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When you build a Windows Phone app it has a .exe
Apps will always need a starting point.

It's true that all software needs a starting point. However, I suspect the EXE question is rather a question about compatibility. In that case the answer is that WinRT (which hosts Modern apps packaged in APPX files) and Win32 (which hosts desktop apps packaged in EXE files) don't support the same executable format nor do they have access to the same APIs, so one will not run on the other. Executable files will only ever run on the Win32 desktop environment.
 
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pericle

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Viruses don't work the way you're likely imagining them to.

Modern apps run in a controlled runtime environment. Such apps are monitored to a far larger extent than traditional Win32 applications are. Getting a piece of software to do something malicious in such an environment is much harder than it is to do in a traditional desktop-like computing environment (like Windows, OSX or Android). Almost none of the mechanisms viruses traditionally use to infect other software work in such controlled runtime environments. The sandboxing is just one of many mechanisms that prevents malicious software from destroying/infecting anything but itself and it's own data.

That means that the only way such software can spread is through the Windows Store, for which Microsoft has screening procedures, would catch and weed out most dubious software long before a user would ever see it, not to mention that the developer could likely expect law enforcement turning up at their doorstep shortly afterwards.

Finally, no Windows 10 and Windows 10 mobile (or whatever it will be called) are not the same thing. Modern apps will be very portable, but Win32 software won't run on W10 phones or tablets, which is where all the Windows related malware dwells.

Interesting, I was under the impression that Windows 10 would be one operating system that will run all devices, desktop and mobile. That seemed to be the message Microsoft was conveying. Didn't know that there would be Windows 10 and Windows 10 Mobile.

So in essence, does that mean that there is no major change from the current situation with Windows 10? Currently, we have Windows 8 and Windows Phone 8. With Windows 10 we will pretty much have the same situation, except that Microsoft will be calling its phone operating system also as Windows 10.
 

link68759

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This will eventually be the case, but we're still years from that happening. Hell, even 2+ years in this still hasn't changed much. Amd the modern app selection is still minimal.


I'm pretty sure that will never be the case- that's a dystopian fear fueled dream. First and foremost Microsoft has their corporate customers, then the end user. Backwards compatibility is king, kernel level development is REQUIRED for any hardware devices you might put in your PC, and lower level development is key in embedded devices which Microsoft has always been a strong benefactor of.

One day, we will use the modernUI apps primarily, however the desktop will never be phased out, simply because the scope of modernUI apps cannot extend to lower level development and still retain its inherent security benefits.
 

spaulagain

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I'm pretty sure that will never be the case- that's a dystopian fear fueled dream. First and foremost Microsoft has their corporate customers, then the end user. Backwards compatibility is king, kernel level development is REQUIRED for any hardware devices you might put in your PC, and lower level development is key in embedded devices which Microsoft has always been a strong benefactor of.



One day, we will use the modernUI apps primarily, however the desktop will never be phased out, simply because the scope of modernUI apps cannot extend to lower level development and still retain its inherent security benefits.


Ya, I kind of agree, at least for a subset of users. I think for the majority of users, even for businesses, the new app environment will eventually house all the apps they use.

But there will always be a niche user base that needs to more integrated and modifiable legacy application environment.
 

Bagzton

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Phones = ARM architecture, which are completely different from what viruses and desktop software require: x86/x64 architecture. There's no way to get anything developed for the latter running on an ARM powered device. And even if someone would invest time and effort to code ARM specific viruses - like they do for Android powered platforms - it wouldn't make any sense at all. WP has all its apps running sandboxed and in isolated storages. There's just no way for these viruses to gain access to other apps or even the OS itself. People may complain about the walled gardens that iOS and WP are as they want, but it's the perfect symbiosis of security and functionality. Android is open and can be customized to death. For an unbearable price: a security nightmare and utter mess.

I have a question. We all know all apps can only be installed on our phones through the store (which is sandboxed) therefore eliminating the chances of getting a virus through installed apps. But what about email attachments? To the best of my knowledge, I know we can't run .exe files on WPs (or am I wrong?) but I'm talking about attachments with legitimate file extensions like PDF but contain scripts that are malicious.
 

dKp1977

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I have a question. We all know all apps can only be installed on our phones through the store (which is sandboxed) therefore eliminating the chances of getting a virus through installed apps. But what about email attachments? To the best of my knowledge, I know we can't run .exe files on WPs (or am I wrong?) but I'm talking about attachments with legitimate file extensions like PDF but contain scripts that are malicious.


I'm not even sure if these scripts could even be executed, tbh. I seriously doubt it. But even if, they would only be able to perform actions in the very sandbox they're executed from with access to only the according isolated storage. Which means they're potentially useless.
 

Bagzton

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I'm not even sure if these scripts could even be executed, tbh. I seriously doubt it. But even if, they would only be able to perform actions in the very sandbox they're executed from with access to only the according isolated storage. Which means they're potentially useless.

All right then. Thanks.
 

Reflexx

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Think of it like this.

There is one OS, but it has two sides. Think of those sides like countries that are separated by an ocean and the residents both speak different languages. They also are built on two very different philosophies and governments.

The countries are Modern and Legacy.
Legacy is built on the foundation of a very free and open government. Anyone could do anything. Everyone who creates something in Legacy has access to anything else in Legacy. This includes government systems and other peoples creations.

In Modern, things are much more strict. It's built on the foundation that a creator is only given access to certain things. Every creation must be approved by the government before the populace is allowed to use it. And every creation is restricted in what it can affect, so even if a rogue creation goes crazy it can't affect anything it was never given access to.

People who live in Legacy live the freedom. They feel empowered because their creations are only limited by their imagination. But they also understand that they need to protect themselves because bad people can do the same.

People who live in Modern love the security. Bad creations are stuck in the homes of the people that made them. They can also safely be deleted without harming other systems.

The planet is Windows 10. As a super user of Windows 10 you can go from Legacy to Modern at your whim. Switching back and forth is a cinch. But you know that any time you're in Legacy you have to be careful that you don't blow up the world.

You also have a mobile version of your planet. This is like a space station that you can take with you. (your phone) In this mobile version you have Windows 10, but the country of Legacy cannot be accessed. You can only bring Modern along with you.
 

a5cent

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Interesting, I was under the impression that Windows 10 would be one operating system that will run all devices, desktop and mobile. That seemed to be the message Microsoft was conveying. Didn't know that there would be Windows 10 and Windows 10 Mobile.

So in essence, does that mean that there is no major change from the current situation with Windows 10? Currently, we have Windows 8 and Windows Phone 8. With Windows 10 we will pretty much have the same situation, except that Microsoft will be calling its phone operating system also as Windows 10.

I guess that depends on what you would consider to be a major change.

It seems to me that Microsoft is trying to send two conflicting messages at the same time. To consumers they are trying to say "it's all one OS". This statement is what most of the technically illiterate tech-press jumped on, which is why many understandably have that misconception. That's just not the case. What MS means is that both W10 and W10M will offer, as far as Store/Modern apps are concerned, a very similar experience. That similar experience doesn't extend to the Windows desktop however (or more technically, anything Win32 related), which currently constitutes over 90% of what we currently call Windows. None of that will be available on mobile devices.

Technically, the correct way to think about W10 and W10M are as two separate OSes that share a set of identical components. W10M is pretty much a wholly contained subset of W10. That identical subset is what is responsible for the similar experience, which is limited to Modern apps and the Modern runtime environment.

When communicating with developers and investors, MS tends to put a bit more weight on technical correctness rather than just the marketing message. That is where they've confirmed it's not actually all one and the same. Still, WP being extended with all the tablet specific features from Windows RT, and the WinRT APIs finally becoming identical across all versions of Windows, rather than just similar (a path MS started down about four years ago), does seem like a big deal to me.

On the other hand, like many others on this site, I'm not a typical consumer. That means I can get excited about things that are only of technical importance that otherwise have no impact whatsoever on consumer facing features. Obviously, what type of consumer you are will determine whether you think any of this constitutes a "major change" or not.
 

J Bryan

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I disagree. There are far too many companies that depend on in-house application development to just axe the exe,msi,.setup etc types of files.
It might be a more high-tech version of UAC in the mid term future, but you will still be able to code your own apps and distribute them.
 

a5cent

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I disagree. There are far too many companies that depend on in-house application development to just axe the exe,msi,.setup etc types of files.
It might be a more high-tech version of UAC in the mid term future, but you will still be able to code your own apps and distribute them.

Who said otherwise?
 

spaulagain

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Interesting, I was under the impression that Windows 10 would be one operating system that will run all devices, desktop and mobile. That seemed to be the message Microsoft was conveying. Didn't know that there would be Windows 10 and Windows 10 Mobile.

So in essence, does that mean that there is no major change from the current situation with Windows 10? Currently, we have Windows 8 and Windows Phone 8. With Windows 10 we will pretty much have the same situation, except that Microsoft will be calling its phone operating system also as Windows 10.

One OS doesn't mean the features will be identical across all devices.

The OS would simply share many similarities but turn on or off various elements dependent on the installed device type.

However, from what we've heard, there will be a separate SKU for the mobile version. That doesn't mean it won't share much of the core OS. As the difference between Windows 7 Home and Windows 7 Professional is just a matter of a few features turned off. But they are separate SKUs.

That being said, it doesn't matter if the OS is identical on phones and desktops. If the legacy apps aren't recompiled for ARM processors then they won't install on phones anyways.
 

a5cent

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The OS would simply share many similarities but turn on or off various elements dependent on the installed device type.

Could you give me an example of what you're thinking of when you say "turn on or off". I can't think of anything which I think would fit that description. The desktop/Win32 environment on mobile devices isn't just turned off. It literally doesn't exist there.
 

mathsisbest

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It seems to me that Microsoft is trying to send two conflicting messages at the same time. To consumers they are trying to say "it's all one OS". This statement is what most of the technically illiterate tech-press jumped on, which is why many understandably have that misconception.

This poor marketing sounds similar to Windows RT - the belief that the surface RT could run legacy apps. I fear that Windows 10 will turn out like the surface RT with consumers expecting phones to run PhotoShop and being upset, simply due to bad marketing.
 

spaulagain

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Could you give me an example of what you're thinking of when you say "turn on or off". I can't think of anything which I think would fit that description. The desktop/Win32 environment on mobile devices isn't just turned off. It literally doesn't exist there.




That's what I mean by turned off. I imagine some features will turn on/off dynamically just depending on how you use it, kind of like the Start Screen/Menu which they've already shown in Continuum.





Other things like Desktop wouldn't even be installed on devices like phones. Whether that means the OS install is the same file and it just detects the device, or if it's separate file/SKU that actually has separate install packages.





Either way, the OS will mostly be the same except for various features deemed unnecessary for that device type.





IMO, the features should always be there and just turned off dynamically. For example, desktop makes no sense on a phone UNLESS I "dock" it into a desktop setup (keyboard, mouse, and monitor). In that case, the desktop should appear because I'll want to use the device as a desktop computer.





If they go that route, which is pretty easy really, I think they would have a killer OS. It basically mirrors how Responsive websites work.
 

a5cent

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IMO, the features should always be there and just turned off dynamically. For example, desktop makes no sense on a phone UNLESS I "dock" it into a desktop setup (keyboard, mouse, and monitor). In that case, the desktop should appear because I'll want to use the device as a desktop computer.

If they go that route, which is pretty easy really, I think they would have a killer OS. It basically mirrors how Responsive websites work.

I see what you're thinking, but that's not where this is headed. It could very well be that the Modern runtime environment will support some kind of docking mechanism (completely speculation on my part). Besides allowing your phone to easily interface with all sorts of desktop peripherals, this could also cause Touch-Office to slightly reconfigure itself to be more suitable for keyboard/mouse based input. However, under no circumstances will this give you access to the desktop environment, because like I said, it literally won't exist on mobile devices.

The statement that "the OS will mostly be the same" falls somewhat short after realizing that W10 for mobile devices will have an installation size below 1GB, while W10 will clock in at the usual 13 GB. Just that difference makes it quite clear that things aren't being turned on/off dynamically based on what is required, but that W10M is only a small subset of W10. The rest is missing and can't be turned on.
 

realwarder

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I disagree. There are far too many companies that depend on in-house application development to just axe the exe,msi,.setup etc types of files.
It might be a more high-tech version of UAC in the mid term future, but you will still be able to code your own apps and distribute them.

With each update to Windows 8 the Store apps are becoming increasingly open to install. Would not surprise me if a mode exists for non store metro apps to exist in Windows 10 enabling developers to target both store and standalone using common tools.
 

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