Microsoft to Kill Vulnerable Windows Store Apps

Dennis Faas's picture

Microsoft is hoping to increase consumers' trust in its new Windows Store by unveiling a strict policy for uploaded apps. According to the firm, it will remove any applications that it finds may be vulnerable to hackers.

Specifically, Microsoft says that any apps with critical security vulnerabilities will be placed on probation for 180 days (though Microsoft admits that this window could be extended in special cases).

If the app's maker has not fixed the problem within that time period, Microsoft says it will remove the app from the Windows Store. (Source:

In addition, Microsoft says any vulnerable app with weaknesses that are being actively exploited will be pulled much sooner. However, the firm did not say exactly how fast it will act to remove these kinds of apps from the Windows Store.

Third-Party Apps Present Unique Security Issues

According to Microsoft Trustworthy Computing Group Manager Dustin Childs, it's all part of his firm's attempt to protect Windows Store customers.

"We want out customers to know that, if there's a problem, we'll be working on a solution," Childs said in a recent blog.

That said, Childs acknowledges that Microsoft faces a major challenge in finding and removing vulnerable applications posted by third parties.

"There are some things that can affect your computing experience that I can't directly control," Childs acknowledged.

"For example, we can't directly update third-party apps that you install from the Windows Store if they have a problem. But we can influence when they get updated." (Source:

Windows Store Surpasses 100,000 Apps

Microsoft launched its Windows Store late last year -- just in time for the release of Windows 8. For users of hardware running a special, portable version of Windows 8 called Windows RT, it's the only place to go to acquire new applications.

And because Windows Store only recently launched, there are far fewer apps available there than on Apple's App Store or the Google Play store (each offering close to one million applications).

However, Microsoft is working furiously to change that, and recently announced that Windows Store had surpassed the 100,000-app marker.

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