Feeds

MS denies Win 7 backdoor rumours

Oooh, spooky!

Providing a secure and efficient Helpdesk

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. ®

Top 5 reasons to deploy VMware with Tegile

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
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
Mozilla shutters Labs, tells nobody it's been dead for five months
Staffer's blog reveals all as projects languish on GitHub
'People have forgotten just how late the first iPhone arrived ...'
Plus: 'Google's IDEALISM is an injudicious justification for inappropriate biz practices'
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
Netscape plugins about to stop working in Chrome for Mac
Google kills off 32-bit Chrome, only on Mac
prev story

Whitepapers

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops
Balancing user privacy and privileged access, in accordance with compliance frameworks and legislation. Evaluating any potential remote control choice.
Intelligent flash storage arrays
Tegile Intelligent Storage Arrays with IntelliFlash helps IT boost storage utilization and effciency while delivering unmatched storage savings and performance.
WIN a very cool portable ZX Spectrum
Win a one-off portable Spectrum built by legendary hardware hacker Ben Heck
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?
Beginner's guide to SSL certificates
De-mystify the technology involved and give you the information you need to make the best decision when considering your online security options.