German federal office BSI publishes Telemetry analysis

Martin Brinkmann
Nov 23, 2018
Windows, Windows 10

The German Federal Office for Information Security, BSI (Bundesamt für Sicherheit in der Informationstechnik) published a detailed Windows 10 Telemetry analysis on November 20, 2018.

The research paper, which is available in English (partially) and German, provides a deep analysis of Telemetry functionality that Microsoft implemented in the company's Windows 10 operating system.

The paper is based on Windows 10 version 1607 Enterprise. It covers:

  • An overview of Windows 10's event tracing functionality for Telemetry.
  • A technical analysis on how Telemetry data is collected and processed.
  • An analysis of the network interfaces and connections used to transfer Telemetry data.
  • A look at configuration and logging capabilities to monitor and control Telemetry data collecting.

The report is quite technical in nature and the first couple of pages are only available in German at the time of writing. You may want to skip ahead to page 9, Executive Summary, if you don't understand German; the English part of the report begins with chapter 1.2.

Tip: An extra, German-only, paper is available that includes system-based and network-based options to limit or block the collection or transfer of Telemetry data to Microsoft.

You find interesting tidbits in the report even if you are not interested in technicalities like the number of Event Tracing for Windows (ETW) providers associated with Autologger-Diagtrack-Listener and Diagtrack Listener for each of the supported Telemetry levels:

  • Security -- 9 and 4 ETW Providers
  • Basic -- 93 and 410 ETW Providers
  • Enhanced -- 105 and 418 ETW Providers
  • Full -- 112 and 422 ETW Providers

The Security telemetry level is reserved to Enterprise editions of Windows 10. Home users may choose between Basic and Full, and the difference in providers is not as large as one would think based on the analysis.

The number of ETW Providers stands in no direct correlation to the amount of data that is collected or its quality according to the researchers.

The report list hostnames and IP addresses that Windows 10's Telemetry service uses for communication based on a connection log of 48 hours.

Hostname IP Address Location Ireland, Dublin Ireland, Dublin United States, Boston Netherlands, Amsterdam United States, LA United States, LA United States, Cheyenne

Last but not least, there is an appendix that list external executable files. Not all of them are used for Telemetry purposes though.

Here is the entire listing:

Executable Description
%SystemRoot%\System32\telsvc.exe No description available
%SystemRoot%\SysWow64\dtdump.exe No description available
%SystemRoot%\SysWow64\RdrLeakDiag.exe No description available
%SystemRoot %system32\RdrLeakDiag.exe No description available
%SystemRoot%\system32\appidtel.exe No description available
%SystemRoot%\system32\disksnapshot.exe No description available
%SystemRoot%\system32\bcdedit.exe A tool for managing the Boot Configuration Database (BCD);
%SystemRoot%\system32\dxdiag.exe A tool for collecting information on devices;
%SystemRoot%\system32\dispdiag.exe A tool for collecting and logging information on displays;
%ProgramFiles%\internet explorer\iediagcmd.exe No description available
%SystemRoot%\system32\icacls.exe A tool for displaying and modifying access control lists;
%SystemRoot%\system32\licensingdiag.exe No description available
%SystemRoot%\system32\ipconfig.exe A tool for displaying network information and configuring network settings
%SystemRoot%\system32\msinfo32.exe A tool for displaying information about the hardware and software enviroment deployed on a platform;
%SystemRoot%\system32\logman.exe A tool for configuring, and displaying information about, the ETW environment;
%SystemRoot%\system32\netsh.exe A tool for displaying network information and configuring network settings;
%SystemRoot%\system32\netcfg.exe A tool for installing the Windows preinstallation environment, a lightweight version of Windows;
%SystemRoot%\system32\route.exe A tool for displaying and modifying the platform’s IP routing table;
%SystemRoot%\system32\powercfg.exe A tool for configuring power settings (e.g., configuring the platform’s standby mode)
%SystemRoot%\system32\stordiag.exe No description available
%SystemRoot%\system32\settingsynchost.exe No description available
%SystemRoot%\system32\verifier.exe A tool for detecting and troubleshooting driver issues;
%SystemRoot%\system32\tracelog.exe A tool for managing ETW environment (e.g., activation and deactivation of ETW sessions);
%SystemRoot%\system32\whoami.exe A tool for displaying information on the user currently logged on to the system; https
%SystemRoot%\system32\wevtutil.exe A tool for managing the EventLog environment;
%SystemRoot%\system32\wscollect.exe No description available

Administrators and researchers may also be interested in a tools and script package that was released as part of the analysis.

Closing Words

The reports provide detailed Telemetry information that is useful to interested Windows users but especially to administrators who want to know more about how Telemetry works on Windows 10 devices.

Related articles:

German federal office BSI publishes Telemetry analysis
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German federal office BSI publishes Telemetry analysis
The German Federal Office for Information Security published a detailed Windows 10 Telemetry analysis on November 20, 2018.
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  1. Dan Donx said on January 15, 2023 at 10:29 am

    What mental age of reader are you targeting with the first sentence? 10?

    Why not write an article on how to *avoid* upgrading from W10 to W11. Analogous to those like me who avoided upgrading from 7 to 10 for as long as possible.

    If your paymaster Microsoft permits it, of course.

  2. Dexter said on January 15, 2023 at 11:14 am

    5. Rufus
    6. Ventoy

    PS. I hate reading these “SEO optimized” articles.

    1. cdr said on January 15, 2023 at 3:32 pm

      I used Rufus to create an installer for a 6th gen intel i5 that had MBR. It upgraded using Setup. No issues except for Win 11 always prompting me to replace my local account. Still using Win 10 Pro on all my other PCs to avoid the bullying.

  3. sv said on January 15, 2023 at 6:40 pm

    bit pointless to upgrade for the sake of upgrading as you never know when you’ll get locked out because ms might suddenly not provide updates to unsupported systems.

    ps…. time travelling?
    written. Jan 15, 2023
    Updated • Jan 13, 2023

    1. Martin Brinkmann said on January 16, 2023 at 5:49 am

      This happens when you schedule a post in WordPress and update it before setting the publication date.

  4. Anonymous said on January 16, 2023 at 8:24 am

    Anyone willing to downgrade to this awful OS must like inflicting themselves with harm.

  5. basingstoke said on January 16, 2023 at 11:18 am

    I have become convinced now that anybody who has no qualms with using Windows 11/10 must fit into one of the following brackets:

    1) Too young to remember a time before W10 and W11 (doesn’t know better)

    2) Wants to play the latest games on their PC above anything else (or deeply needs some software which already dropped W7 support)

    3) Doesn’t know too much about how computers work, worried that they’d be absolutely lost and in trouble without the “”latest security””

    4) Microsoft apologist that tries to justify that the latest “features” and “changes” are actually a good thing, that improve Windows

    5) Uses their computer to do a bare minimum of like 3 different things, browse web, check emails, etc, so really doesn’t fuss

    Obviously that doesn’t cover everyone, there’s also the category that:

    6) Actually liked W7 more than 10, and held out as long as possible before switching, begrudgingly uses 10 now

    Have I missed any group off this list?

    1. Heinz Strunk said on September 19, 2023 at 3:57 pm

      You have missed in this group just about any professional user that uses business software like CAD programs or ERP Programs which are 99% of all professional users from this list.

      Linux doesn’t help anyone who is not a linux kid and apple is just a fancy facebook machine.

  6. ilev said on August 24, 2023 at 7:34 pm

    Microsoft has removed KB5029351 update

    1. EP said on August 24, 2023 at 9:21 pm

      only from windows update though
      KB5029351 is still available from the ms update catalog site

  7. Anonymous said on August 24, 2023 at 11:05 pm

    1. This update is labaled as PREVIEW if it causes issues to unintelligent people, then they shouldn’t have allowed Preview updates ot install.

    2. I have installed it in a 11 years old computer, and no problems at all.

    3. Making a big drama over a bluescreen for an updated labeled as preview is ridiculous.

    This is probably another BS internet drama where people ran programs and scripts that modified the registry until they broke Windows, just for removing stuff that they weren’t even using just for the sake of it.
    Maybe people should stop playing geeks and actually either use Windows 10 or Windows 11, but don’t try to modify things just for the sake of it.

    Sometimes removing or stopping things (like defender is a perfect example) only need intelligence, not scripts or 3rd party programs that might mess with windows.

  8. john said on August 24, 2023 at 11:17 pm

    Windows 11 was a pointless release, it was just created because some of the Windows team wanted to boost sales with some sort of new and improved Windows 10. Instead, Microsoft cannot support one version well let alone two.

    1. John G. said on August 25, 2023 at 12:08 pm

      Windows 11 is the worst ugly shame by Microsoft ever. They should release with every new W11 version a complete free version of Starallback inside just to make this sh** OS functionally again.

  9. EP said on August 25, 2023 at 3:10 pm

    motherboard maker MSI has recently released a statement regarding the “unsupported processor” blue screen error for their boards using Intel 600/700 series chipsets & to avoid the KB5029351 Win11 update:–UNSUPPORTED-PROCESSOR–Error-Message-of-Windows-11-Update-KB5029351-Preview-142215

  10. EP said on August 29, 2023 at 7:32 pm

    check out the following recent articles:

    Neowin – Microsoft puts little blame on its Windows update after UNSUPPORTED PROCESSOR BSOD bug:

    BleepingComputer – Microsoft blames ‘unsupported processor’ blue screens on OEM vendors:

  11. Leonard Britvolli said on August 30, 2023 at 10:33 pm

    While there may be changes or updates to the Windows 10 Store for Business and Education in the future, it is premature to conclude that it will be discontinued based solely on rumors.

  12. sembrador said on September 5, 2023 at 9:32 pm

    My advice, I left win 15 years ago. Now I’m a happy linux user (linuxmint) but there is Centos, Fedora, Ubuntu depending on your needs.

  13. EP said on September 6, 2023 at 11:55 am

    motherboard maker MSI has recently released new BIOS/firmware updates for their Intel 600 & 700 series motherboards to fix the “UNSUPPORTED_PROCESSOR” problem (Sept. 6):–UNSUPPORTED-PROCESSOR–caused-BSOD-on-MSI-s-Intel-700-and-600-Series-Motherboards-142277

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