Security researchers have found that four new updates to the Windows 7 and 8 operating systems allow Microsoft to collect an assortment of usage information with processes similar to those of Windows 10. It is believed that users on these systems will in time drift to the newer version of the OS.
Microsoft has already been criticised for Windows 10, whose telemetry feature collects usage information by default from basic error reporting to more improved data. Some users have been so concerned about privacy on Windows 10 that they purposely delayed upgrading.
The first of the four updates is 3022345. This update introduces the Diagnostics and Telemetry tracking service to in-market devices.
The second update, 3068708, has replaced update 3022345. This update introduces the Diagnostics and Telemetry tracking service to existing devices. You can add benefits from the latest version of Windows to systems that haven't yet upgraded.
The third is 3075249, an update that adds telemetry point to consent.exe in Windows 8.1 and Windows 7. It adds telemetry points to the User Account Control (UAC) feature to collect information on elevations coming from low integrity levels.
The last update, 3080149, is the update for customer experienced and diagnostic telemetry, which provides benefits from the latest version of Windows to systems that have yet to upgrade.
It was initially believed that the domains were hardcoded, but it has been revealed that these new connections can be blocked via software firewalls.