Windows 10 installs Office web apps without permission

Ruben Fields
October 20, 2020

The company has issued a statement saying that this behaviour of Progressive Web Apps (PWAs) showing as tiles is a bug and it didn't intend for that to happen.

Mandatory Windows 10 updates are nothing new.

The two security bulletins, noted in a Friday post by the U.S. Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA), were released outside Microsoft's usual "update Tuesday" security patch-release cycle. Windows 10 somehow started treating these shortcuts as PWAs.

As we talked about on the outset, Microsoft can be engaged on adaptive instructions for Office apps with a larger emphasis on synthetic intelligence. For example, when logging in to your Microsoft Account during the first run setup, Windows will analyse your account and check if you have an Android phone linked or an active Office subscription, and automatically pin the Your Phone or Office app to the taskbar when you land on the desktop for the first time.

Image Source: India TV News
Image Source: India TV News

Microsoft has also fixed a RCE (CVE-2020-17022) in the way that Microsoft Windows Codecs Library handles objects in memory, which could be triggered by a program processing a specially crafted image file.

After courting controversy for pushing an update for Windows 10 that covertly installs web pages for its Office apps without asking for user permission, Microsoft has said it was partly a mistake and has paused the process. It also remains to be seen whether Microsoft allows Windows 10 users to open these web shortcuts into a non-Edge (default) browser.

Running Word in a browser and running it as a PWA is pretty much the same thing, with a few minor, yet key differences. The bottom line is that if you right-click any Office PWAs that ended up in your Start menu, you can safely unpin them.

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