Feeds

National Security Agency beefed Win 7 defenses

Now for Apple, Sun, and Red Hat

The essential guide to IT transformation

The National Security Agency helped Microsoft harden Windows 7 against attacks and is providing similar assistance to Apple, Sun Microsystems and Red Hat too, an agency official said.

The admission came in prepared remarks delivered Tuesday by Richard Schaeffer, the NSA's information assurance director, at a hearing before the Senate's Subcommittee on Terrorism and Homeland Security.

"Working in partnership with Microsoft and elements of the DoD, NSA leveraged our unique expertise and operational knowledge of system threats and vulnerabilities to enhance Microsoft's operating system security guide without constraining the user's ability to perform their everyday tasks, whether those tasks are being performed in the public or private sector," Schaeffer stated.

"All this was done in coordination with the product release, not months or years later during the product lifecycle."

Microsoft has acknowledged help from the NSA before. The ultra-secretive agency provided assistance in shoring up Windows Vista, The Washington Post reported in 2007. The same article says Microsoft tapped the NSA for help with Windows XP and Server 2003 as well.

The latest assistance includes unclassified security checklists that protect against various threats and standards for cataloging computer vulnerabilities. It also involved the release of a "security configuration guide" for Windows 7.

The NSA is working with Apple, Sun, and Red Hat "to develop secure baselines for their products," he added.

"More and more, we find that protecting national security systems demands teaming with public and private institutions to raise the information assurance level of products and services more broadly," Schaeffer stated. "If done correctly, this is a win-win situation that benefits the whole spectrum of information technology users, from warfighters and policymakers, to federal, state, local and tribal governments, to the operators of critical infrastructure and the nation's major arteries of commerce."

A PDF of Schaeffer's remarks is here. His comments about Windows 7 was reported earlier by IDG News. ®

This article was updated to correct the year The Washington Post story was published.

Next gen security for virtualised datacentres

More from The Register

next story
e-Borders fiasco: Brits stung for £224m after US IT giant sues UK govt
Defeat to Raytheon branded 'catastrophic result'
Germany 'accidentally' snooped on John Kerry and Hillary Clinton
Dragnet surveillance picks up EVERYTHING, USA, m'kay?
Snowden on NSA's MonsterMind TERROR: It may trigger cyberwar
Plus: Syria's internet going down? That was a US cock-up
Who needs hackers? 'Password1' opens a third of all biz doors
GPU-powered pen test yields more bad news about defences and passwords
Think crypto hides you from spooks on Facebook? THINK AGAIN
Traffic fingerprints reveal all, say boffins
Rupert Murdoch says Google is worse than the NSA
Mr Burns vs. The Chocolate Factory, round three!
Microsoft cries UNINSTALL in the wake of Blue Screens of Death™
Cache crash causes contained choloric calamity
prev story

Whitepapers

5 things you didn’t know about cloud backup
IT departments are embracing cloud backup, but there’s a lot you need to know before choosing a service provider. Learn all the critical things you need to know.
Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Build a business case: developing custom apps
Learn how to maximize the value of custom applications by accelerating and simplifying their development.
Rethinking backup and recovery in the modern data center
Combining intelligence, operational analytics, and automation to enable efficient, data-driven IT organizations using the HP ABR approach.
Next gen security for virtualised datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.