National Security Agency beefed Win 7 defenses
Now for Apple, Sun, and Red Hat
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."
This article was updated to correct the year The Washington Post story was published.
"Now" Red Hat?
Red Hat, and by now all other Linux distros have had work contributed by NSA for ages now - it's called SELinux. Lookie here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Selinux#Overview
But it's all open source, so rather hard to hide back doors. Any security-related bug could possibly be considered a deliberate attempt to allow circumvention.
The Spooks are all over this one.
Lets go back to 1998 for just a moment.
This is a link to some postings by Ellen Messmer of Network World, dating back to July 20, 1998 about the NSA involvement in software development.
So you can see that they have been at this for quite a while now and yet they claim that it's not true.
Those so called back doors are in there, like it or not but as to whether it was put in there by Microsoft or the NSA remains a mystery.
Not really important as to who or how it just remains a fact that they are there.
"Those who would sacrifice liberty for security deserve neither."
~ Benjamin Franklin~
"None are more hopelessly enslaved than those who falsely believe they are free"
~Johann Wolfgang von Goethe~
All previous commenters should STFU
The NSA security guides are usefull, look them up. There are also some NSA guide based security scanner tools. They are far beyond a simple port scanner or exploit notification tool. They give you exaustive reports of file system, service and authentication threats. If you can get your hands on one, try it out.
And by the way, NSA recomends using Apple's own security guide, so I gues that means Apple is in bed with NSA by design? You all need to grow the hell up and use your brain for more than paranoid anti M$ hate.