Windows Sidebar & Gadgets: Run from them Now

(Ping! Zine Web Tech Magazine) – If you’re currently operating on Windows 7 or Vista and notice one of those helpful Windows sidebars hanging out in the distance of your desktop screen, now might be a good time to run.

On Tuesday, Microsoft unveiled a fix disabling desktop sidebars and gadgets on the operating systems because of a security vulnerability. The company said the flaw allowed the Sidebar to execute “arbitrary code” when users ran gadgets considered insecure.

“An attacker who successfully exploited a Gadget vulnerability could run arbitrary code in the context of the current user. If the current user is logged on with administrative user rights, an attacker could take complete control of the affected system. An attacker could then install programs; view, change, or delete data; or create new accounts with full user rights,” explained the company in a security advisory.

The fix is automated and can be easily applied by Windows users.

The Windows Sidebar and gadgets allow users of the operating systems to view calendars, weather, news and the time. Meanwhile, a report from Sophos noted that Windows 8 is set to completely do away with the Sidebar and Gadgets features.