Gadgets in Windows 7 and Vista allow users to run small applets such as weather, clocks, notes, music players, and newsreaders on their desktops. According to a knowledgebase article released Tuesday, “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. Users whose accounts are configured to have fewer user rights on the system could be less impacted than users who operate with administrative user rights.”
Microsoft’s current solution, claimed to be a temporary solution, is to disable gadgets in the Windows desktop altogether. Whether a permanent solution is released or not remains in question, however, as Microsoft does not intend to continue the use of gadgets in the upcoming Windows 8 release. Gadgets have not turned out to be that popular since their debut in Windows Vista. As an indication of this, Microsoft only shipped 9 gadgets with its Windows 7 release. Look for some of the same ideas to translate to Windows 8 in terms of tiles allowing users to see upcoming appointments, unread email, current weather conditions, stock tickers, and the like. Not sure about the value of this either, however, as most users I know never see their desktop behind thirty open applications and emails. So for now, turn of those gadgets and if you really need to know what the weather is, you will have to rely on a real window instead of Windows.