Feeds

MS denies Win 7 backdoor rumours

Oooh, spooky!

The smart choice: opportunity from uncertainty

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. ®

Designing a Defense for Mobile Applications

More from The Register

next story
HIDDEN packet sniffer spy tech in MILLIONS of iPhones, iPads – expert
Don't panic though – Apple's backdoor is not wide open to all, guru tells us
Apple fanbois SCREAM as update BRICKS their Macbook Airs
Ragegasm spills over as firmware upgrade kills machines
Captain Kirk sets phaser to SLAUGHTER after trying new Facebook app
William Shatner less-than-impressed by Zuck's celebrity-only app
Do YOU work at Microsoft? Um. Are you SURE about that?
Nokia and marketing types first to get the bullet, says report
Microsoft takes on Chromebook with low-cost Windows laptops
Redmond's chief salesman: We're taking 'hard' decisions
Cheer up, Nokia fans. It can start making mobes again in 18 months
The real winner of the Nokia sale is *drumroll* ... Nokia
EU dons gloves, pokes Google's deals with Android mobe makers
El Reg cops a squint at investigatory letters
prev story

Whitepapers

Seven Steps to Software Security
Seven practical steps you can begin to take today to secure your applications and prevent the damages a successful cyber-attack can cause.
Consolidation: The Foundation for IT Business Transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.
Designing a Defense for Mobile Applications
Learn about the various considerations for defending mobile applications - from the application architecture itself to the myriad testing technologies.
Build a business case: developing custom apps
Learn how to maximize the value of custom applications by accelerating and simplifying their development.
Consolidation: the foundation for IT and business transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.