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Microsoft Denies It Built Backdoor Into Windows 7

timothy posted more than 4 years ago | from the how-are-your-wife's-bruises? dept.

Security 450

CWmike writes "Microsoft has denied that it has built a backdoor into Windows 7, a concern that surfaced yesterday after a senior National Security Agency (NSA) official testified before Congress that the agency had worked on the operating system. 'Microsoft has not and will not put "backdoors" into Windows,' a company spokeswoman said, reacting to a Computerworld story Wednesday. On Monday, Richard Schaeffer, the NSA's information assurance director, told the Senate's Subcommittee on Terrorism and Homeland Security that the agency had partnered with the developer during the creation of Windows 7 'to enhance Microsoft's operating system security guide.' Thursday's categorical denial by Microsoft was accompanied by further explanation of exactly how the NSA participated in the making of Windows 7. 'The work being discussed here is purely in conjunction with our Security Compliance Management Toolkit,' said the spokeswoman. The company rolled out the Windows 7 version of the toolkit late last month, shortly after it officially launched the operating system."

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I have no problem believing MS this time... (4, Funny)

beh (4759) | more than 4 years ago | (#30164744)

I believe Microsoft anytime that they would not build back doors into the system... If they tried, the backdoor would probably have enough bugs to be unusable.

Besides - doesn't it already state it in the story:

    "Microsoft has not and will not put "backdoors" into Windows"

    "the agency had worked on the operating system."

Seems pretty clear, MS did NOT put a backdoor into it... ;-)

Re:I have no problem believing MS this time... (0, Offtopic)

commodore64_love (1445365) | more than 4 years ago | (#30165402)

"Microsoft announced yesterday they did not put a backdoor into the new Windows operating system. Even though the NSA said they worked on that system. I believe them. Or do I? Haha. Yeah. Let's go to a tape from 1990 of Bill Gates saying otherwise....." - Glenn Beck

I'm just joking. I like Beck but he does act goofy sometimes. That guy needs to stop eating M&Ms and other sugar-based foods.

Well.. (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30164784)

At least, not intentionally.

Really people (5, Insightful)

jgtg32a (1173373) | more than 4 years ago | (#30164794)

Why do people think that the back door is in Win7?

The NSA put the backdoor in the Intel compiler, that's a much better place to put a backdoor or more accurately spread a backdoor

Re:Really people (3, Insightful)

Tubal-Cain (1289912) | more than 4 years ago | (#30164842)

Who needs a back door when the front door is wide open? ;-)

Re:Really people (4, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30164976)

The back door is usually considered "taboo" and therefore makes people feel like they're "bad-ass" (no pun intended). Plus, it's usually more pleasuring.

Re:Really people (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30165278)

lol +5 to u good sir

Re:Really people (4, Funny)

commodore64_love (1445365) | more than 4 years ago | (#30165454)

>>>Who needs a back door when the front door is wide open?

"That's what she said!"

Re:Really people (1)

turing_m (1030530) | more than 4 years ago | (#30165456)

Best comment ever.

Re:Really people (1)

MrSenile (759314) | more than 4 years ago | (#30165520)

You forget. Microsoft doesn't deal with doors, they deal with Windows. Sadly, they'll be installed next Tuesday...

Re:Really people (5, Insightful)

ajs (35943) | more than 4 years ago | (#30165308)

Or the network adapter firmware or the encryption libraries or the BIOS or the processor itself. Yeah, there's no reason to poke a hole in the OS itself when so much of what it depends on is at your finger tips.

What's more, the NSA does have a legitimate reason to be involved. It's the same reason they wrote the SE/Linux extensions. They are required (in their public role) to provide the federal government with analysis and review of software for security purposes. To avoid having the NSA say, "Win 7 is too insecure, don't use it," Microsoft would go to them for review and comments prior to release, and respond to whatever concerns they have.

People often forget that the NSA has a public function.

Well (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30164796)

At least people can no longer find it interesting that Microsoft haven't denied building a back door into Windows 7.

Re:Well (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30164868)

This is true. However, I plan to register microsoftrapedandkilledandembeddedinwindows7ayounggirlin2009.com because they haven't denied that they have not.

Re:Well (1)

ae1294 (1547521) | more than 4 years ago | (#30165292)

LoL... Glenn is that you????

Really. Who here doesn't think that every version of windows that has had tcp/ip hasn't had a backdoor???

I beg the question, didn't MS source code get leaked for winNT or 2k or something? was it complete? I wonder if you ran grep backdoor what would turn up... (probably guys with guns at your front door)

On the other hand... (4, Insightful)

FlyingSquidStudios (1031284) | more than 4 years ago | (#30164806)

It's not like they need to put a back door on it. There will be about 500 exploits found within the next year as it is.

Not really necessary (5, Insightful)

Misanthrope (49269) | more than 4 years ago | (#30164808)

Odds are the NSA is privy to whatever the current exploits are for windows operating systems anyways. I wouldn't be surprised if they had staff working on breaking into Windows machines if for nothing else than attacks on targets outside the US.

Re:Not really necessary (4, Insightful)

BobMcD (601576) | more than 4 years ago | (#30164938)

Yes, this.

And if they had smuggled something into it, the testimony before Congress would have been sealed. The fact we know about it without some kind of secret leak means that we can be confident the NSA did not think the disclosure was valuable intel.

Re:Not really necessary (2, Funny)

sexconker (1179573) | more than 4 years ago | (#30165310)

Yes, this.

And if they had smuggled something into it, the testimony before Congress would have been sealed. The fact we know about it without some kind of secret leak means that we can be confident the NSA did not think the disclosure was valuable intel.

WHAT DO YOU KNOW AND WHERE IS MY TINFOIL HAT?

Re:Not really necessary (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30165514)

The agents were supposed to finish bugging your hat and have it returned by now. I'll look into it.

Re:Not really necessary (2, Insightful)

Garridan (597129) | more than 4 years ago | (#30165384)

Meh. It's reasonably public knowledge that the NSA has people working at Microsoft, IBM, etc. It's actually quite easy to find NSA "agents". Go into any math department in the country, and you're almost guaranteed to meet one or two. And guess what? Microsoft hires people with PhDs in math who know crypto -- and chances are, well over half of the talent pool has worked at NSA at some point.

Also, as FP noted, Microsoft claims that they haven't put any backdoors in, and also admits that the NSA has submitted code -- their statements do not preclude the NSA putting in their own backdoors.

Re:Not really necessary (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30165542)

Maybe that's just what they want you to think.

Re:Not really necessary (1)

megamerican (1073936) | more than 4 years ago | (#30164996)

That shouldn't be hard for them to do when they built the security for the system.

As I always say: You're world delivered.... to the NSA.

Re:Not really necessary (5, Insightful)

amicusNYCL (1538833) | more than 4 years ago | (#30165014)

I think it's much more likely that the NSA would partner with Microsoft to ensure that Windows is actually more secure, so that those same targets outside of the US cannot get into the US government systems.

The NSA doesn't need to rely on Windows to gain access to other networks, but considering the fact that many government systems are running Windows, the National Security Agency definitely has an interest in making sure those systems are secure.

Re:Not really necessary (5, Informative)

ajs (35943) | more than 4 years ago | (#30165396)

I think it's much more likely that the NSA would partner with Microsoft to ensure that Windows is actually more secure

It's not "likely." It's their job [nsa.gov] .

Re:Not really necessary (3, Interesting)

TheRaven64 (641858) | more than 4 years ago | (#30165444)

The NSA probably has people looking for security holes in Windows and any other widely deployed piece of software, just as they have people looking for weaknesses in widely deployed cryptographic algorithms (and ones they are thinking of deploying). I they need to get into a system, they probably have a few undisclosed vulnerabilities on hand to do so with. They also probably let the companies in question know, if the US government is using the systems in question. The only interesting thing about this is that the NSA has access to the Windows source code for exploit hunting. That's not very interesting though, because the British and Chinese governments do to, and so (I assume) do others.

Re:Not really necessary (2, Insightful)

thejynxed (831517) | more than 4 years ago | (#30165452)

You're assuming those holes aren't left there intentionally as honeypots or convenient excuses for actions that might otherwise be construed as acts of war.

Just sayin'.

Re:Not really necessary (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30165342)

One would expect that microsoft would share info regarding holes in their products with the NSA as soon as they are confirmed and before they are patched, to give them a little time to exploit.

While a direct backdoor is not likely, it wouldn't surprise me if MS had intentionally left in or created a buffer overflow in one obscure section of the windows or IIS code, which the NSA could take advantage of until it is publicly found and then patched.

"We did NOT put in a backdoor for the NSA." (5, Insightful)

John Hasler (414242) | more than 4 years ago | (#30164810)

"It's for the RIAA."

Backdoor? (2, Insightful)

ackthpt (218170) | more than 4 years ago | (#30164834)

Nah, it's all the front door - javascript through ie

With props to Bill Cosby (4, Funny)

Fishbulb (32296) | more than 4 years ago | (#30164848)

God: "NOAH!"

Noah: "What!"

God: "Noah, I did not put a backdoor in Windows 7."

Noah: "[...] RIGHT."

Re:With props to Bill Cosby (1)

gringer (252588) | more than 4 years ago | (#30165240)

In New Zealand, we have Tui ads [interface-7.net] for that.

NSA helped on Linux as well (5, Insightful)

prestwich (123353) | more than 4 years ago | (#30164856)

The NSA did SELinux (for Linux...) so I don't think it's unreasonable to think they might have helped MS on security issues without doing anything nasty.

Re:NSA helped on Linux as well (1)

sconeu (64226) | more than 4 years ago | (#30164920)

Mod parent up. I had the same thought.

Re:NSA helped on Linux as well (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30165008)

Yes, cause open and closed source projects are equivalent with transparency....

Really? THIS got modded up?

Re:NSA helped on Linux as well (1)

StrategicIrony (1183007) | more than 4 years ago | (#30165244)

No, but simply because it gives a plausible explanation for it, without HAVING to rely on conspiracy theory.

That's all.

Re:NSA helped on Linux as well (1)

RobertLTux (260313) | more than 4 years ago | (#30165326)

and besides if you are a big enough corp you can always get any source from MS you need (under NDA with a contract defining what you get how you get it and to whom in the company the code is given)

and when you are talking about the US.GOV they have a very quick way of getting stuff from a US.COM called "DOJ or DOD pick who blocks your products from sale"

Re:NSA helped on Linux as well (1, Insightful)

turing_m (1030530) | more than 4 years ago | (#30165060)

The NSA did SELinux (for Linux...) so I don't think it's unreasonable to think they might have helped MS on security issues without doing anything nasty.

Like they are going to take a chance on getting caught doing something untoward in an open source application, where all eyes in the world are watching what they do. A closed source operating system is a completely different matter.

Re:NSA helped on Linux as well (1)

LWATCDR (28044) | more than 4 years ago | (#30165172)

Then why work on Linux at all?
No really think about it. I am sure they dug into the code looking for exploits since our government is at some point going to use Windows 7.
A backdoor is a backdoor. Unless they are sure that they are the only ones that can use it they wouldn't put it in.
Unless they put one in that is only active if you are not using US English so it would have to be hidden in the language support.
But then how much you want too bet that anylists offten change their language to the one they are working in so even that isn't worth it.

Re:NSA helped on Linux as well (1)

StrategicIrony (1183007) | more than 4 years ago | (#30165270)

We do enough fuzzing against Windows machines that I think the NSA understands any intentional backdoor is likely to be discovered eventually. Sure they can claim "bug" and remove it, but I doubt they would rely on something so trivial.

Re:NSA helped on Linux as well (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30165184)

an open source application, where all eyes in the world are watching what they do

You may be overstating the interest that people have in open-source software.

Re:NSA helped on Linux as well (1)

sexconker (1179573) | more than 4 years ago | (#30165380)

No it isn't.
Here's a tip: Code runs on computers. Code can be read by both humans and computers alike. Source code or compiled code.

If someone wants to look for backdoors in the compiled Windows code, they can. It's hard, but it's not impossible. All it takes is ONE person finding one suspicious chunk of code to let the cat out of the bag.

It's not worth the risk for open source, it's not worth the risk for closed source, it's not even worth the risk for private off-the-record conversations.

Re:NSA helped on Linux as well (3, Informative)

Jeng (926980) | more than 4 years ago | (#30165156)

There was quite abit of concern that Microsoft put in a backdoor for the NSA on Windows 95 though Windows 2000.

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/sci/tech/437967.stm [bbc.co.uk]

It was never confirmed that a backdoor was installed.

Re:NSA helped on Linux as well (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30165164)

This is true. NSA runs on Windows machines, and they need to be as secure as possible for national security.

Re:NSA helped on Linux as well (0)

Dunbal (464142) | more than 4 years ago | (#30165478)

they need to be as secure as possible for national security.

      I assume that those "secure" machines are not connected to an external network in any way, require dongles, tokens or card swipes to operate, are in concrete buildings with shielding on everything from the walls and ceiling to the power cables the computer is hooked up to, so that no one can read the keypresses by scanning the power lines to the building (yes it can be done). Oh and I also assume that they're surrounded by quite a few armed guards. THOSE Windows machines?

Re:NSA helped on Linux as well (1)

pembo13 (770295) | more than 4 years ago | (#30165242)

> so I don't think it's unreasonable to think they might have helped MS on security issues without doing anything nasty

Nice thing is that NDAs and trade secrets can be applied to everyone who touches the production build code for Windows. The same in not true for Linux (SELinux)

Re:NSA helped on Linux as well (5, Informative)

G-Man (79561) | more than 4 years ago | (#30165280)

And they also recommended a couple of changes to DES when it was being developed:

http://www.schneier.com/blog/archives/2004/10/the_legacy_of_d.html [schneier.com]

Folks at the time thought it was some nefarious backdoor, but a couple of decades later came to realize it actually improved the security of DES.

of-course not (2, Insightful)

roman_mir (125474) | more than 4 years ago | (#30164886)

'Microsoft has not and will not put "backdoors" into Windows,' a company spokeswoman said, reacting to a Computerworld story Wednesday.

- of-course you wouldn't. MS is a stand up company, known for ethical behavior, fair treatment of its users, etc. I mean, it would never!

Re:of-course not (0, Redundant)

maxwell demon (590494) | more than 4 years ago | (#30164966)

She's right: Microsoft didn't put backdoors into Windows. After all, one backdoor is more than sufficient. :-)

Re:of-course not (2, Insightful)

amicusNYCL (1538833) | more than 4 years ago | (#30165040)

C'mon - name a single thing Microsoft would gain by having a backdoor into any Windows installation. Now count how many ways such a backdoor could bite Microsoft in the ass.

It makes zero business sense to create a backdoor in Windows.

Re:of-course not (1)

denis-The-menace (471988) | more than 4 years ago | (#30165138)

Just like it make zero business sense for telcos to wiretap their customers w/o warrant, etc.

Re:of-course not (1)

omnichad (1198475) | more than 4 years ago | (#30165312)

About as much sense as an insurance policy from the mafia. You wouldn't want something to "happen," now would you?

Re:of-course not (0, Flamebait)

Dunbal (464142) | more than 4 years ago | (#30165420)

Now count how many ways such a backdoor could bite Microsoft in the ass.

      None. They'd just deny it. After all, it would just be one of tens of thousands more security vulnerabilities. It's not like there's a piece of code saying "NSA back door hook HERE". They'd patch it, create a different "vulnerability" with the patch, and pass that on to the NSA, and no one would be any wiser. Security by obscurity. Easy to do in multi-gigabyte resource hogging pigs of an OS.

Re:of-course not (1)

pluther (647209) | more than 4 years ago | (#30165464)

Not that I think they actually did, but I can think of a couple of things they could gain:

"Hello, we're with the federal government. We work with the Justice Department. You know, the one that decides whether and how hard to press anti-trust lawsuits..."

"We're going to be making recommendations on what Operating System the entire federal government should use in coming budget cycles. We'd like to discuss some enhancements to yours..."

Of course, I can also think of perfectly legitimate reasons for the NSA to be working closely with Microsoft - such as ensuring tighter security on future versions of the OS that most of the government runs on.

I Tried to Interview Microsoft About This (5, Funny)

eldavojohn (898314) | more than 4 years ago | (#30164922)

I asked them if they had put any backdoors in Windows 7 and the representative said loudly and nervously that that was preposterous and 'patently false' while scribbling something on a piece of paper. He slid it across his desk to me. It read:

Please, they have microphones in my clothes, on the desk, in the walls, the fly buzzing by your mouth is their robot!!! Meet me by the dumpster out back around 5pm, come alone.

Unfortunately I have a bad habit of reading things aloud when I read them and by the time I was finished the fly was gone and the man sitting across from me was dead. The government doctor that rushed in the room and gave him pentobarbital in an attempt to revive him said it was due to an aneurysm caused by a robotic fly which he says he sees a lot of so it's nothing for me to look into.

I guess there's no story here after all.

Re:I Tried to Interview Microsoft About This (4, Funny)

Red Flayer (890720) | more than 4 years ago | (#30165084)

That story is patently absurd.

I asked them if they had put any backdoors in Windows 7 and the representative said loudly and nervously that that was preposterous and 'patently false' while scribbling something on a piece of paper.

MS marketing reps can't write.

Re:I Tried to Interview Microsoft About This (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30165466)

That story is patently absurd.

I asked them if they had put any backdoors in Windows 7 and the representative said loudly and nervously that that was preposterous and 'patently false' while scribbling something on a piece of paper.

MS marketing reps can't write.

That's what they want you to think...

Re:I Tried to Interview Microsoft About This (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30165512)

He could've been making a doodle.

Cue the Fag Squad (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30164924)

Windows is a back door. I like it in the back door. Linux may be a terrible OS but nobody uses it enough for that to matter. Apple is better. Buy yourself an expensive new computer.

Microsoft Denies It Built Backdoor Into Windows 7 (1)

d34dluk3 (1659991) | more than 4 years ago | (#30164936)

That's what she said!

Re:Microsoft Denies It Built Backdoor Into Windows (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30165076)

Ohhhhhhh SNAP!

A possible reason... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30164942)

index.dat files.

What? (1)

Nuskrad (740518) | more than 4 years ago | (#30164994)

The NSA work on an operating system? Scandalous! [nsa.gov]

Re:What? (1)

pembo13 (770295) | more than 4 years ago | (#30165274)

Production Windows code can be locked away. not the same for Linux.

Back door?! Hah! There isn't even a front door! (1)

Narcocide (102829) | more than 4 years ago | (#30165000)

This is Windows we're talking about here, after all.

Re:Back door?! Hah! There isn't even a front door! (1)

maxwell demon (590494) | more than 4 years ago | (#30165432)

So they included a back window?

The main point (1)

webmistressrachel (903577) | more than 4 years ago | (#30165002)

of the way this is being pointed out seems to be that your Government had a steering role in security, so the first thing that comes into their heads is "Backdoor". Notice how Microsoft themselves insist that it's only a configuration framework that the NSA has worked on. They want to play down Government participation just as a safe manufacturer would. BUT - big BUT - do the NSA (or some other Dept.) have SOURCE and if so, surely they have tons of 0days up their sleeve anyway? Who else has source? That's what we'd really like to know, M$. I was as shocked as anybody that there is a "Shared Source Initiative" when Win2k leaked, and wondered "Who? How many?" but the news just died. Nobody else asked that, not even on here.

I confess, love Win7, it's beautiful, but will it still be a craporama of exploits which drive the Anti-V/Mal etc whatever ecosystem? I don't run stuff from email, I use only familiar apps known to be spyware-free through years of experience, and I heed UAC when I see it. Stable so far.

Oh, I veered offtopic there, but back ontopic - do the NSA have the source? Who else?? Because then they wouldn't even need to work with M$ to open a backdoor, and the main fears hinted at above would be realised (the Govt. could spy on everyone).

Re:The main point (2, Interesting)

iamhigh (1252742) | more than 4 years ago | (#30165290)

The military does. Or did for older version. The military used to have a strict rule that any software run on classified networks (yeah, 98 ran (and probably still does) on such systems as communications, nuclear, and others) had to be open source or they had to be allowed to view the source. I do not know if this still applies.

Idiocy of ComputerWorld and slashdot... (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30165006)

NSA: "We wrote a guide and a separate tool to help in enterprise security management"

ComputerWorld: "OMG NSA TROJANED WINDOWS 7"

NSA: "WTF? We made a document and stand-alone download..."

ComputerWorld: "CONSPIRACY!"

NSA: "Uh, we work with linux too you know... SELinux...?"

ComputerWorld: "FRONTPAGE HEADLINE NEWS! WINDOWS 7 BACKDOOR EXISTS!"

Slashdot: "ZOMG! NSA MADE A WINDOWS 7 BACKDOOR!"

I'm the NSA... (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30165034)

and Windows 7 was my idea.

Re:I'm the NSA... (5, Funny)

eldavojohn (898314) | more than 4 years ago | (#30165340)

and Windows 7 was my idea.

John Hodgman: "Hi, I'm a PC."
*silence*
John Hodgman: "Oh, and Mac couldn't be here today because Windows 7 fiddled with his brakes. So ... I guess you know who to choose."

Re:I'm the NSA... (1)

omnichad (1198475) | more than 4 years ago | (#30165352)

Amazing. Never have mod points when I see gems like this.

Microsoft didn't make any backdoors (0, Flamebait)

overlordofmu (1422163) | more than 4 years ago | (#30165036)

The NSA, CIA or FBI made the backdoor. And then forced Microsoft to include it in the final build of the OS. Microsoft is technically telling the truth.

Remember this: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Magic_Lantern_(software) [wikipedia.org]

Re:Microsoft didn't make any backdoors (2, Funny)

John Hasler (414242) | more than 4 years ago | (#30165134)

> The NSA, CIA or FBI made the backdoor. And then forced Microsoft to include
> it in the final build of the OS.

In that case it might actually work.

Re:Microsoft didn't make any backdoors (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30165196)

if you just READ the link you posted you would have realised that it was not msft but mcaffe, symantech and CA that collaborated with the FBI

They should use this as a selling point (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30165048)

Might appeal to many Mac users.

Show us the code (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30165062)

Show the code, let us download, examine, compile, and test the output and then we'll believe you.

Strategic Defense Initiative (4, Insightful)

Corson (746347) | more than 4 years ago | (#30165104)

An OS that runs on 90% of computers in the world is a de facto strategic weapon.

Re:Strategic Defense Initiative (1)

gbjbaanb (229885) | more than 4 years ago | (#30165304)

An OS that runs on 90% of computers in the world

Na, the Chinese are still pirating XP.

Well... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30165118)

and Glenn Beck denies he raped a young girl.

At least Microsoft has the balls to say they didn't do it.

Methinks (0)

Arancaytar (966377) | more than 4 years ago | (#30165154)

He doth protest too much.

Also:

"Microsoft has denied that it has built a backdoor into Windows 7" [...] "the agency had worked on the operating system."

Yeah, they didn't do it, they let the NSA do it.

No worries (2, Insightful)

Jamamala (983884) | more than 4 years ago | (#30165176)

Just check the sou..
Ah.

Who needs a back door? (5, Funny)

David Gerard (12369) | more than 4 years ago | (#30165204)

Despite many years’ warnings that Microsoft regards security as a marketing problem and has only ever done the absolute minimum it can get away with [today.com] , millions of users who click on any rubbish they see in the hope of pictures of female tennis stars having wardrobe malfunctions still fail to believe that taking Windows out on the Internet is like standing bent over in the street in downtown Gomorrah, naked, arse greased up and carrying a flashing neon sign saying “COME AND GET IT.”

Microsoft cannot believe people have not applied the patch for the problems, just because they keep trying to use Windows Genuine Advantage to break legally-bought systems. “Don’t they trust us?” asked marketing marketer Steve Ballmer.

Millions of smug Mac users and the four hundred smug Linux users pointed and laughed, having long given up trying to convince their Windows-using friends to see sense. “There’s a reason the Unix system on Mac OS X is called Darwin,” said appallingly smug Mac user Arty Phagge.

“It can’t be stupid if everyone else runs it,” said Windows user Joe Beleaguered, who had lost all his email, business files, MP3s and porn again. “Macs cost more than Windows PCs.”

“Yes,” said Phagge. “Yes, they do.”

Ubuntu Linux developer Hiram Nerdboy frantically tried to get our attention about something or other, but we can’t say we care.

Isn't this like an insane cut and paste job.. (1)

tjstork (137384) | more than 4 years ago | (#30165374)

I think this exact comment has been posted a dozen times in slashdot so far.

denial = admission (0, Troll)

czarangelus (805501) | more than 4 years ago | (#30165212)

Of course they built in a backdoor for their own personal uses. Is anyone stupid enough to imagine otherwise? Consider the recent CIA purchase of http://www.wired.com/dangerroom/2009/10/exclusive-us-spies-buy-stake-in-twitter-blog-monitoring-firm/ [wired.com] In-Q-Tel. Or the well-known fact that the CIA has its fingers all over Facebook. Do you suckers believe for one instant that everything you do and write isn't being scribbled into some Internal Security goon's harddrive somewhere? I have a friend who worked for Juniper, and he personally knew that AT&T was buying their equipment to route all its traffic through NSA spook territory before hitting the rest of the web. East Germany represent!

Every day the United States comes closer and closer to becoming the USSR. A disaster in Afghanistan, monitoring its citizens without a warrant, attacking Christianity, Islam, and other religions, use of secret prisons and torture, central economic planning, the list goes on and on and on and on.

And still the rabid conformists, http://www.nature.com/news/2009/090624/full/news.2009.593.html [nature.com] murderers of civilization, take out their Two Minutes Hate on the messenger.

Re:denial = admission (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30165506)

I seriously doubt Microsoft would deliberately put a backdoor in, no matter what. Not that people are stupid otherwise, but for three main reasons:

The first is that if whitehats discover the backdoor, there would be absolute Hell to pay for Microsoft. Any sysadmin who was around in the NT days remembers the coverage and suspicions raised on anything relating to computers about the NSAKey debug value, even though this did not directly affect security directly. In less than a business day, people would start a class action against Microsoft.

The second is if the blackhats discover the backdoor first, there will be MAJOR losses to American busineses and businesses who are using MS products, i.e. Microsoft customers. And trust me, if it was present, people will have found it because extremely well heeled blackhat organizations go through every bit of Windows 7 piece by piece to find any and all holes that can be exploited, due to the sheer revenue payoff. A zero day remote root can likely be sold for millions of dollars if nobody has ever heard about it. Once people discover they are broken in through forensics, the hole will be known by whitehats, and the bad stuff in #1 will happen.

The third is that China, India, Russia, the EU, and other countries have full access to W7's source code. Any of them would be able to find it in source.

Finally, if there were a backdoor, if Microsoft used it for anything against the most gave of crimes, they would tip their hand, and people would realize there is a hidden way in the OS. Then either #2 or #1 would happen, which either would be REALLY bad for MS.

So, a backdoor isn't going to be found in Windows 7. Yes, there will be security issues, but a dedicated backdoor isn't going to be there. Instead, there are other, far weaker links in the chain. People may have a bulletproof OS, but if they run a dodgy P2P sharing program, their system can be just as compromised as if the OS had no internal security. Another weak link in the chain is the fact that the box is on, and any forensics team that knows anything will capture suspects' machines while they are still on, keep them powered on, dump the RAM via a PCI card, then use that info to decode an image read from a the hard disk through a hardware write blocker.

Yes, it may fit conspiracy theories that Microsoft would have backdoors, but in reality, Microsoft would be sued into oblivion here in the US, and the EU would have their hide on the wall in Europe. Microsoft is too smart to allow this to happen to them.

Oh, this argument also applies to PGP, BitLocker, and many other security related programs. I've heard accusations of backdoors in almost any security tool out there, and the assertions stated above also apply to them.

Re:denial = admission (1)

czarangelus (805501) | more than 4 years ago | (#30165544)

Obama would simply declare all information on the subject a National Security Secret [wired.com] and that would be the last it would see the light of day. Don't be so naive. The US government can do anything we can't stop them from doing, and we can't stop them from doing much.

Either way... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30165222)

I for one will not be 'upgrading' to Windows 7. For various reasons, not least of which is that Microsoft is pro-DRM, I plan to have as little exposure to Windows 7 as I can.

Unfortunately, my current employer, and likely any future employers as well, will likely keep using MS products and will eventually installing Windows 7 on all desktop computers.

Then again, my job mostly involves writing embedded software, so my desktop PC only ends up getting used for basic email and web browsing tasks.

What I want to know is... (0)

pyrr (1170465) | more than 4 years ago | (#30165252)

...did Windows 7 rape and murder a young girl in 1990? It's a simple question, why won't Microsoft deny that Windows 7 did this?

This is silly (3, Funny)

Dunbal (464142) | more than 4 years ago | (#30165284)

Of course you can trust the government. I mean, this is the NSA we're talking about. They're on YOUR side.

      And as for Microsoft, or any other multinational company for that matter, they have grown to the size that they are because they are 100% honest to goodness hard working souls that, when faced with a decision, will always take the ethically correct side. I mean that's how you get fantastically rich, isn't it? Ask our hard working friends at Goldman Sachs, for example!

      I'm shocked that you could even consider that Microsoft could be lying. I mean, what happens if they get caught lying? Surely the "back door" would be right there in the source code for all to see, and they'd be found out right away. Oh, wait... sorry, you don't get to see the source code. But Microsoft apologized for violating the GPL, that makes them GOOD guys. You're not suggesting that if anyone ever DID find out some sort of way to control a Windows machine, all they'd have to do is call it a "security vulnerability" and issue a patch (with a different back door) for it, are you?

Re:This is silly (1)

cpghost (719344) | more than 4 years ago | (#30165434)

I mean, this is the NSA we're talking about. They're on YOUR side.

Now that's a US-centric view. What about non-US slashdotters, you insensitive clod? But seriously, the guys who brought us SE-Linux, TrustedBSD's MAC framework et. al. can't be all that bad. Yes, they're on OUR side, kind of.

Re:This is silly (1)

Dunbal (464142) | more than 4 years ago | (#30165510)

Now that's a US-centric view.

      I may be an insensitive clod, but I'm also a Canadian citizen living in Costa Rica. I really have nothing to do with the US, other than vacationing there occasionally. But you know... when in Rome...

Probably easier to back door Linux. (4, Interesting)

tjstork (137384) | more than 4 years ago | (#30165348)

You know, its funny, but if the NSA ever got its hooks into a repository, it could do all sorts of fun stuff that way in Linux. We only "trust" Linux because Linux is a huge trust circle. WE trust it because its open, and assume that someone else must have looked at it. But I have about as much idea of what's going on inside of my Ubuntu as I did my Windows, from a backdoor perspective.

Apple denies building kill switch into OSX... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30165362)

This is a rediculous non-story with an attention seeking headline. Sensationalist.

No fun for Beck here, huh? (0, Troll)

macraig (621737) | more than 4 years ago | (#30165376)

It's kinda hard for Beck to have fun with this controversy when Microsoft jumps the gun and denies it first, huh? Well, I'm still wondering why Ballmer refuses to deny he raped and threw chairs at that girl in 1990....

Re:No fun for Beck here, huh? (1)

Monkeedude1212 (1560403) | more than 4 years ago | (#30165422)

Microsoft has denied building back doors, but what about rootkits?

Re:No fun for Beck here, huh? (1)

macraig (621737) | more than 4 years ago | (#30165496)

There ya go! Beck would be proud.

Microsoft commented further... (1)

IICV (652597) | more than 4 years ago | (#30165436)

Microsoft clarified further:

We didn't build in any backdoors, they just kinda happened.

The lady doth protest too much, methinks (3, Insightful)

Mansing (42708) | more than 4 years ago | (#30165472)

MSFT would sell their children's souls to keep Windows on the government's desktop PCs.

Oh sure, there's a back door in Windows 7 (3, Funny)

twoears (1514043) | more than 4 years ago | (#30165532)

But it's only in the goatse edition.

Lemmy FTFY (1)

NotBorg (829820) | more than 4 years ago | (#30165548)

Microsoft has not and will not put "backdoors" into Windows,' a conspiracy spokeswoman said

Fixed.

You can stop laughing at my shiny hat now.

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