Feeds

MS denies Win 7 backdoor rumours

Oooh, spooky!

Reducing the cost and complexity of web vulnerability management

Microsoft has once again denied rumours that it built a backdoor into Windows 7.

Long standing conspiracy theories that Redmond outfits Windows with a covert entry point for law enforcement resurfaced after a senior National Security Agency (NSA) official told Congress it had worked with Redmond on the operating system.

Richard Schaeffer, the NSA's information assurance director, told a Senate homeland security sub-committee on Tuesday that the agency had worked with developers on Windows 7's operating system security guide. He added that the NSA has worked with Microsoft as well as Apple, Sun, and RedHat in the past in developing "secure baselines for their products".

Conspiracy theorists saw any involvement by the NSA in developing the OS as evidence that it made modifications to allow its agents covert access.

Microsoft categorically denied this on Thursday. 'Microsoft has not and will not put 'backdoors' into Windows 7," a spokeswoman told Computerworld. "The work being discussed here is purely in conjunction with our Security Compliance Management Toolkit."

A Windows 7 version of the Toolkit, which provides a guide to hardening Windows-based networks, was released last month.

The NSA main role involves signals intelligence, or spying. Information assurance (i.e. helping to make US IT systems in critical areas of the economy more secure) is a more recent priority.

The agency was the chief backer of the discredited Clipper chip plan back in the '90s, so it's not altogether surprising that sections of the information security community view any of its actions with suspicion.

It's well known that lawful interception (ie. wiretapping) capabilities are a mandatory requirement for telecoms carriers in the US and Britain. However, no credible evidence has ever emerged of a law enforcement backdoor in any operating system. ®

New hybrid storage solutions

More from The Register

next story
New 'Cosmos' browser surfs the net by TXT alone
No data plan? No WiFi? No worries ... except sluggish download speed
'Windows 9' LEAK: Microsoft's playing catchup with Linux
Multiple desktops and live tiles in restored Start button star in new vids
iOS 8 release: WebGL now runs everywhere. Hurrah for 3D graphics!
HTML 5's pretty neat ... when your browser supports it
Mathematica hits the Web
Wolfram embraces the cloud, promies private cloud cut of its number-cruncher
Google extends app refund window to two hours
You now have 120 minutes to finish that game instead of 15
Intel: Hey, enterprises, drop everything and DO HADOOP
Big Data analytics projected to run on more servers than any other app
Mozilla shutters Labs, tells nobody it's been dead for five months
Staffer's blog reveals all as projects languish on GitHub
SUSE Linux owner Attachmate gobbled by Micro Focus for $2.3bn
Merger will lead to mainframe and COBOL powerhouse
iOS 8 Healthkit gets a bug SO Apple KILLS it. That's real healthcare!
Not fit for purpose on day of launch, says Cupertino
prev story

Whitepapers

Providing a secure and efficient Helpdesk
A single remote control platform for user support is be key to providing an efficient helpdesk. Retain full control over the way in which screen and keystroke data is transmitted.
WIN a very cool portable ZX Spectrum
Win a one-off portable Spectrum built by legendary hardware hacker Ben Heck
Saudi Petroleum chooses Tegile storage solution
A storage solution that addresses company growth and performance for business-critical applications of caseware archive and search along with other key operational systems.
Protecting users from Firesheep and other Sidejacking attacks with SSL
Discussing the vulnerabilities inherent in Wi-Fi networks, and how using TLS/SSL for your entire site will assure security.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.