Microsoft, Yet Again, Needs to Clean Up the Windows Store

Posted on August 22, 2017 by Brad Sams in Windows 10 with 44 Comments

It seems like once or twice a year Paul or I end up writing a story or two about how Microsoft’s Windows Store is filled with junk that is either trying to scam you out of some money or is littered with fake apps pretending to be something else.

While the Windows Store is headed in the right direction with new apps like Newton Mail, Spotify and eventually iTunes, there is still a bunch of junk in the store. Specifically, there are apps that allow you to pirate content such as movies and TV shows.

Uncovered by Torrent Freak, they have found a long list of apps that do not hide their intentions. Many boast the ability to stream the latest Hollywood movies for free and if that’s not bad enough, some services appear to be using Microsoft’s own ad platform to create pre-roll ads on these pirated movies.

The Windows Store is promoted as being the place to obtain trusted applications that are safe for the end user. While these apps may not be viruses or malware, they are clearly providing illegal content which could get the end-user into serious trouble.

Microsoft reviews apps before allowing them into its store which means that all these pirated apps currently have Microsoft’s blessing to be used by consumers. I fully expect Microsoft to remove these apps in the near future but they have highlighted a vulnerability in Microsoft’s review process; they only check how the app operates in relation to the OS not what it’s actually allowing the end user to do.

The last time an issue with the Store popped up, it was because there were dozens of fake “Chrome” browser apps. A quick search shows that all these apps are gone which highlights that Microsoft can make a change to its review policies that are effective and I expect them to do the same here with the pirate apps.

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