Windows 10 Source Code Leak is a Minor Incident at Best

Posted on June 24, 2017 by Paul Thurrott in Windows 10 with 9 Comments

Windows 10 Source Code Leak is a Minor Incident at Best

Parts of the Windows 10 source code have leaked online. But this isn’t as exciting as it sounds.

“Our review confirms that these files are actually a portion of the source code from the Shared Source Initiative and is used by OEMs and partners,” a Microsoft statement reads, acknowledging the leak. Which has since been taken offline.

But there’s some disagreement about the scope of this leak.

A report by the UK rag The Register claims that 32 TB of data leaked. But The Verge claims that most of that 32 TB has been online for years and that the new leak is actually fairly minor, and weighs in at just 1.2 GB.

Likewise, The Register claims that this leak is even bigger than the infamous 2004 leak of Windows 2000 source code. But The Verge disagrees.

The Verge appears to be correct, as the source code leak is both minor and uninteresting, as it involves files related to USB, storage, and Wi-Fi drivers in Windows 10 only. And these files were already shared outside of Microsoft with PC makers and other partners, including enterprises and governments. By comparison, the 2004 leak was massive.

“Within minutes, I was examining this and other source-code snippets, including one Windows NT architect David Cutler wrote,” I noted at the time. “Within hours, the word was out: Partial source-code listings for Win2K and NT 4.0—the crown jewels of software code that are used to assemble those OSs into actual working software—had been leaked to the Internet.”

I don’t think anyone would argue that USB drivers are the crown jewels of anything.

The Verge also notes what is likely a related incident: Police have executed warrants on two men in the UK who had gained unauthorized access to Microsoft’s network. Those men were apparently collecting internal Windows 10 Insider Preview builds that were never given to outside testers and then distributing them online. Most of that 32 GB of leaked Windows 10 stuff was apparently these builds, not source code. And it had been online for months.

Anyway. Nothing (much) to see here.