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Microsoft fights claims of NSA backdoor in Win 7

updated 04:10 pm EST, Fri November 20, 2009

MS refutes talk of NSA-made security hole

Microsoft in a response late Thursday rejected assertions that it has put in a security "backdoor" at the request of the National Security Agency. The denial comes after the NSA's information assurance lead, Richard Schaeffer, told a US Senate terrorism subcommittee that the agency had worked with Microsoft to improve Windows 7's "security guide" and sparked fears that the government had deliberately left a secret window the NSA could use to spy on users.

The software developer was adamant to Computerworld that it "has not and will not" put privacy at risk by allowing such deliberate exploits, according to a spokeswoman. Cooperation with the NSA is said limited to Microsoft's Security Compliance Management Toolkit, which makes sure that Windows and Office can be used securely in a tightly controlled environment like the NSA's buildings.

Concern had been raised that Microsoft might feel compelled to add a backdoor through economic pressure, as the US government is one of its most important customers and could threaten lost contracts if it didn't grant the NSA's wishes. However, AVG chief researcher Roger Thompson noted that the consequences of allowing an exploit could be equally severe as it would trigger a broad backlash from companies and users.

Firms like Cisco have agreed to such gateways but can do so since they don't store user information on their own devices. Many of those who do produce computers or their operating systems, such as Apple, usually only hold themselves to the international and voluntary Common Criteria standard that ensures a baseline of security testing.



By Electronista Staff
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Comments

  1. chefpastry

    Mac Enthusiast

    Joined: Nov 2005

    +10

    Uh huh...

    Well, they certainly aren't going to admit to it...

  1. balanced

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Sep 2009

    +9

    Trust Me :-)

    We wouldn't let the government spy on you, Trust Me. ;-)

  1. danviento

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Dec 2005

    -1

    On the same lines

    This goes along similar lines to that DMCA treaty the executive branch is trying to ram through, foisting it on citizens as american law without even a nod from our legislature. Except this time, you don't have to stand there in socks on the cold floor and watch them do it.

    Comment buried. Show
  1. testudo

    Forum Regular

    Joined: Aug 2001

    -12

    Right...

    Microsoft in a response late Thursday rejected assertions that it has put in a security "backdoor" at the request of the National Security Agency.

    Well, I've been reading this on the internet for 10 years. So it must be true! I also heard from a co-worker that his cousin had a friend who bought a copy of Windows 7, and it had a deep-fried mouse inside. And a piece of a man's finger. And a hypodermic needle infected with the AIDS virus. I can't believe MS is doing all these things!

    Concern had been raised that Microsoft might feel compelled to add a backdoor through economic pressure, as the US government is one of its most important customers and could threaten lost contracts if it didn't grant the NSA's wishes.

    Are you kidding me? MS would more than make up for this loss of money by just telling all those companies out there what the NSA wanted to do.

  1. testudo

    Forum Regular

    Joined: Aug 2001

    +8

    Oh

    And why the h*** would the NSA ever need a 'security backdoor' into Windows 7? Has Windows 7 become so secure you need a back-door to hack it?

    Now that would be news....

  1. nat

    Junior Member

    Joined: Mar 2002

    +3

    and why

    does ms need the nsa to help them make a more secure os? i guess because it's pretty clear they can't do it on their own.

  1. Monde

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Jan 2004

    0

    Windows 7 as insecure as all the others

    Yup, big surprise, windows is coded with the holes built right in. What a suprise, you could knock me over with a feather. MS says its not true, but what else could they say?

    Also, to answer testicaludo, everyone knows that Islamic terrorists favor and use windows PCs. Nary a single one caught with any other platform in fact. Looks like a reason to me.

    Our IT guy did a demo to show just how securing you laptop using Windows seven, to the point, explaining just how security should be set up to prevent what he was showing us. Out of the box, the thinkpad was connected to the internet and was infected in less than 5 minutes with a keylogger. Yeah, W7 is mad secure. Mind you, with the firewall and settings set, it did just fine afterwards, but to see it come out of the box, hookup and get compromised--so quickly--was startling. I've an ASUS netbook, that I like very much, running XP. Though the firewall is set and I've got third party security software on it, I'd never use it for anything important security wise. Not until windows can boast a perfect record. Considering whats coded under the hood right now, I'm not holding my breath.

    I wouldn't go bragging about windows yet to be established secure OS record before it has yet to set foot on the track. The only thing I notice is it runs slower than XP.

  1. testudo

    Forum Regular

    Joined: Aug 2001

    -1

    @Monde

    Ok, somehow, out of the box, your thinkpad did NOT have the firewall turned on by default?

    And, well, if you say your IT guy says it is insecure, then it must be insecure. Who needs verification or the like?

    BTW, what security hole was used to install the keylogger? And how did you know it was installed?

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