A massive trove of Microsoft's internal Windows operating system builds and chunks of its core source code have leaked online.
The data – some 32TB of installation images and software blueprints that compress down to 8TB – were uploaded to betaarchive.com, the latest load of files provided just earlier this week. It is believed the data has been exfiltrated from Microsoft's in-house systems since around March.
The leaked code is Microsoft's Shared Source Kit: according to people who have seen its contents, it includes the source to the base Windows 10 hardware drivers plus Redmond's PnP code, its USB and Wi-Fi stacks, its storage drivers, and ARM-specific OneCore kernel code.
Anyone who has this information can scour it for security vulnerabilities, which could be exploited to hack Windows systems worldwide. The code runs at the heart of the operating system, at some of its most trusted levels.
In addition to this, hundreds of top-secret builds of Windows 10 and Windows Server 2016, none of which have been released to the public, have been leaked along with copies of officially released versions. The confidential Windows team-only internal builds were created by Microsoft engineers for bug-hunting and testing purposes, and include private debugging symbols that are usually stripped out for public releases.
This software includes, for example, prerelease Windows 10 "Redstone 2" builds. There are, we think, too many versions now dumped online for Microsoft to revoke via its Secure Boot mechanism, meaning the tech giant can't use its firmware security mechanisms to prevent people booting the prerelease operating systems.
Also in the leak are multiple versions of Microsoft's Windows 10 Mobile Adaptation Kit, a confidential software toolset to get the operating system running on various portable and mobile devices.
Netizens with access to Beta Archive's private repo of material can, even now, still get hold of the divulged data completely for free. It is being described by some as a bigger leak than the Windows 2000 source code blab in 2004.