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NSA Is Giving Microsoft Some Help On Windows 7 Security
NPR ^ | 11/18/09 | Kevin Whitelaw

Posted on 11/18/2009 8:33:06 AM PST by FromLori

The National Security Agency has been working with Microsoft Corp. to help improve security measures for its new Windows 7 operating system, a senior NSA official said on Tuesday.

The confirmation of the NSA's role, which began during the development of the software, is a sign of the agency's deepening involvement with the private sector when it comes to building defenses against cyberattacks.

"Working in partnership with Microsoft and (the Department of Defense), 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," Richard Schaeffer, the NSA's Information Assurance Director, told the Senate Judiciary Committee in a statement prepared for a hearing held this morning in Washington. "All this was done in coordination with the product release, not months or years later in the product cycle."

The partnership between the NSA and Microsoft is not new.

In 2007, NSA officials acknowledged working with Microsoft during the development of Windows Vista to help boost its defenses against computer viruses, worms and other attacks. In fact, the cooperation dates back to at least 2005, when the NSA and other government agencies worked with Microsoft on its Windows XP system and other programs.

The NSA, which is best known for its electronic eavesdropping operations, is charged with protecting the nation's national security computing infrastructure from online assaults.

As these systems become increasingly dependent on private-sector computing products, the NSA has reached out to a growing number of software companies.

"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 said.

Schaeffer said that the NSA is also working to engage other companies, including Apple, Sun, and RedHat, on security standards for their products. The agency also works with computer security firms such as Symantec, McAfee, and Intel.

A growing array of law enforcement authorities, intelligence officials, and private computer experts has been warning about the rising threat of cyberattacks.

"The FBI considers the cyber threat against our nation to be one of the greatest concerns of the 21st century," Steven Chabinksy, the deputy assistant director of the FBI's cyber division, told the same congressional committee.

The Obama administration has been under pressure to name a cybersecurity chief to reinvigorate the government's efforts to protect its most sensitive computer networks. Some press reports suggest that appointment could come as early as next week.

Update at 5:30 p.m. ET: The text of Schaeffer's testimony, as prepared for delivery, is now online here.

Update at 2 p.m. ET: The NSA and other cybersecurity experts say that simple precautions (such as installing system updates regularly and running anti-virus software and firewalls) should protect against about 80% of the attacks out there. This means that if users took these steps, the NSA and others could focus on the more dangerous 20%, or so the theory goes. Put another way, of course, that means about 20% of attacks are sophisticated enough to theoretically defeat standard security measures.


TOPICS: Business/Economy; News/Current Events
KEYWORDS: nsa; windows7

1 posted on 11/18/2009 8:33:08 AM PST by FromLori
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To: FromLori

Marketing ploy.

If Microsoft wanted to really understand how to enhance system security while allowing users relative freedom, they’d take a good hard look at UNIX. But that doesn’t generate headlines, does it?


2 posted on 11/18/2009 8:34:43 AM PST by Terpfen (FR is being Alinskied. Remember, you only take flak when you're over the target.)
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To: Terpfen

Right. Just helped Micro$oft increase the price.


3 posted on 11/18/2009 8:36:35 AM PST by K-oneTexas (I'm not a judge and there ain't enough of me to be a jury. (Zell Miller, A National Party No More))
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To: FromLori
The National Security Agency has been working with Microsoft Corp...

What OS do MACs use?

4 posted on 11/18/2009 8:36:46 AM PST by Outlaw Woman (I will die on my feet before I live on my knees.)
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To: FromLori
In other words, NSA convinced Microsoft to put a big backdoor in so that there will be access to any machine or encryption formed on any machine.

I'd be surprised if that wasn't part of the deal.
5 posted on 11/18/2009 8:38:55 AM PST by mysterio
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To: FromLori
Can you say "back door?"
6 posted on 11/18/2009 8:38:57 AM PST by E. Pluribus Unum (Ask not what the Kennedys can do for you, but what you can do for the Kennedys.)
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To: FromLori

Windows is the environment that most viruses, worms and other exploits are written for. They don’t find anything familiar to attach to when encountering a different operating system. Therefore, my dedicated Internet browsing computer uses Linux. My Windows computers are kept off the Internet.


7 posted on 11/18/2009 8:41:17 AM PST by TexasRepublic (Socialism is a parasite that kills the host)
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To: mysterio; E. Pluribus Unum

NSA back door no doubt.

Could cause a surge of Mac buying by terrorists.


8 posted on 11/18/2009 8:45:04 AM PST by listenhillary (A "cult of personality" arises when a leader uses mass media creating idealized/heroic public image)
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To: FromLori
The NSA helping microsoft?...
I wonder who is being helped...

Linux is becoming a better and better option daily..
For a host of reasons..

9 posted on 11/18/2009 8:49:31 AM PST by hosepipe (This propaganda has been edited to include some fully orbed hyperbole....)
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To: FromLori

It’s the NSA!
They don’t NEED a back door.
If they want in, you can’t stop them...


10 posted on 11/18/2009 8:52:02 AM PST by astyanax (Liberalism: Logic's retarded cousin.)
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To: listenhillary

Why do you assume that Apple is not working with NSA too?


11 posted on 11/18/2009 8:55:51 AM PST by ThomasThomas (Sometimes I like nuts. That's why I am here.)
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To: FromLori

Cyber attack is not what the NSA is in this for; they want a guaranteed back door into every computer.


12 posted on 11/18/2009 9:03:30 AM PST by editor-surveyor (The beginning of the O'Bomb-a administration looks a lot like the end of the Nixon administration)
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To: Outlaw Woman
What OS do MACs use?
Here's Apple's Open Group brand certificate, which entitles Apple to use the UNIX brand. . . There are UNIX pretenders, and there is the real thing. Mac users, realize that qualifying for UNIX is no small feat, especially for an open source, BSD-based OS.

Leopard gets UNIX 03 certification


13 posted on 11/18/2009 9:08:07 AM PST by conservatism_IS_compassion (Anyone who claims to be objective marks himself as hopelessly subjective.)
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To: E. Pluribus Unum

You are the gold watcher correct?

http://www.financialsense.com/fsu/editorials/kirby/2009/1009.html


14 posted on 11/18/2009 9:33:36 AM PST by FromLori (FromLori)
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To: Outlaw Woman

I don’t know sorry.


15 posted on 11/18/2009 9:34:52 AM PST by FromLori (FromLori)
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To: FromLori
I'm waiting for my copy right now. If no one hears from me after tomorrow, you'll know Big Brother got me.

Don't worry though, I won't talk even under water boarding.

16 posted on 11/18/2009 9:37:21 AM PST by BallyBill (Serial Hit-N-Run poster)
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To: FromLori
Stunningly, if accurate [and there is absolutely no doubt in my mind that this is not accurate]...

He misspoke, right?

He meant to say "in my mind that this IS accurate," right?

17 posted on 11/18/2009 9:37:38 AM PST by E. Pluribus Unum (Ask not what the Kennedys can do for you, but what you can do for the Kennedys.)
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To: editor-surveyor
I'd bet there is a back door in every modern OS,even the big linux distros are so huge who could search through all the code except a full time hacker with no life?

Certainly microsoft,Apple,Sun, and the rest aren't going to tell the federal gestapo NO.

It is long past time all Americans were educated about the Alien and Sedition Acts of the early 1800s,the abuses of habeas corpus,etc. by Lincoln, the Woodrow Wilson demands that any criticism of the government be treason in order to force the U.S. into the European war of 1914 in which we had no need to join.

Power hungry dictators always silence dissent.

18 posted on 11/18/2009 9:42:06 AM PST by hoosierham (Waddaya mean Freedom isn't free ?;will you take a credit card?)
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To: ThomasThomas

Good point..


19 posted on 11/18/2009 9:42:06 AM PST by listenhillary (A "cult of personality" arises when a leader uses mass media creating idealized/heroic public image)
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To: Alas Babylon!; American_Centurion; An.American.Expatriate; ASA.Ranger; ASA Vet; Ax; Azeem; ...

MI Ping


20 posted on 11/18/2009 9:58:38 AM PST by ASA Vet (Iran should have ceased to exist Nov 5, 1979, but we had no president then either.)
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To: FromLori

NSA has been “working with” Microsoft since the mid-90s.


21 posted on 11/18/2009 10:02:06 AM PST by VeniVidiVici (Keep your dog. Get rid of a Liberal.)
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To: E. Pluribus Unum

Yes right he phrased it wrong I actually e mailed him about a Cryptogen article and this is what he said about that...

Someone else asked me the same question yesterday. This was my response:

It would appear that Adrian Ash has read and taken great stock of the moron - Jon Nadler’s smear job of me. I wrote a number of articles about this as I gathered more information. The first one I wrote cited gold trades [which I mistakenly assumed were done in NY – COMEX – which would have been futures]. I subsequently learned that the trades were actually “put on” in London [making them forwards] and the beneficial owners stood for ALLOCATED delivery instead of POOLED delivery – which is what caused all the problems for the criminals who sold what they did not have.

For Adrian Ash to suggest I have not dealt with and explained this adequately – I really have nothing else to say except I pity him and I’m glad I’m not wearing his shoes. I stand by what I’ve written and this issue is not going away – in fact, it is getting bigger and uglier by the day.

Best,
Rob Kirby

There should be more coming on this in the VERY near future. I don’t think Adrian Ash or the folks at Bullion Vault are going to like it


22 posted on 11/18/2009 10:14:26 AM PST by FromLori (FromLori)
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To: mysterio
In other words, NSA convinced Microsoft to put a big backdoor in so that there will be access to any machine or encryption formed on any machine.

I'd be surprised if that wasn't part of the deal.

Me? I'd be astonished.

23 posted on 11/18/2009 10:27:01 AM PST by null and void (We are now in day 301 of our national holiday from reality. - 0bama really isn't one of US.)
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To: ASA Vet
Microsoft is the most commonly used operating system by businesses, hospitals, power companies and LEOs across the country, very few use Mac.

I had this argument with my brother last time I was up there, Bob. There's no way everyone is going to scrap their compatible operating systems for a new system. If the Puzzle Palace is strengthening firewalls, it's a plus.

What's all this brouhaha about the NSA anyway? Did CARNIVORE add VEGAN to it's menu?
24 posted on 11/18/2009 6:34:55 PM PST by BIGLOOK (Keelhaul Congress!)
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To: hoosierham
I'd bet there is a back door in every modern OS...

Nonsense. The NSA is smart enough to know that there's no way to keep a secret like that. I think it's perfectly appropriate for the NSA to be lending their expertise to things like this. Just makes sense.

I have some knowledge about a particular project between Microsoft and the Secret Service that was really fascinating, and wholly on the level. I won't comment on the particulars but it was a perfectly appropriate cooperation between a government agency with a problem and a private company with a solution.

25 posted on 11/18/2009 6:46:33 PM PST by Ramius (Personally, I give us... one chance in three. More tea?)
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To: conservatism_IS_compassion

Thank you for the information. I appreciate it.


26 posted on 11/18/2009 11:47:08 PM PST by Outlaw Woman (I will die on my feet before I live on my knees.)
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To: FromLori

NSA admits to helping with not only Windows 7, but also Vista, XP and 2000. Geez, I feel so much more secure now.
/sarcasm


27 posted on 11/19/2009 7:40:54 AM PST by TommyDale (Independent - I already left the GOP because they were too liberal)
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To: TommyDale

Yes me too I have that dang visa!


28 posted on 11/19/2009 7:42:37 AM PST by FromLori (FromLori)
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To: TommyDale

Yes me too I have that dang vista!


29 posted on 11/19/2009 7:43:02 AM PST by FromLori (FromLori)
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To: rdb3; Calvinist_Dark_Lord; GodGunsandGuts; CyberCowboy777; Salo; Bobsat; JosephW; ...

30 posted on 11/19/2009 7:50:32 AM PST by ShadowAce (Linux -- The Ultimate Windows Service Pack)
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To: FromLori
The National Security Agency has been working with Microsoft Corp. to help improve security measures install back doors for its new Windows 7 operating system, a senior NSA official said on Tuesday.

Course I guess I shouldn't have striked the first wording. From NSA's standpoint, "improved security measures" are the ones that take the least CPU time to bypass.

31 posted on 11/19/2009 8:31:52 AM PST by Still Thinking (Quis custodiet ipsos custodes?)
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To: mysterio
In other words, NSA convinced Microsoft to put a big backdoor in so that there will be access to any machine or encryption formed on any machine.Sheesh, with the NSA back door, and the RIAA back door, and of course the Microsoft back door goes without mentioning, it's amazing the damn thing has any back wall left at all.
32 posted on 11/19/2009 8:46:08 AM PST by Still Thinking (Quis custodiet ipsos custodes?)
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To: ThomasThomas
Why do you assume that Apple is not working with NSA too?

They're a bunch of drug crazed hippies that still think they're fighting [against] the Vietnam war?

33 posted on 11/19/2009 8:47:50 AM PST by Still Thinking (Quis custodiet ipsos custodes?)
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To: FromLori; ShadowAce
This is nothing new, they have been working with security improvements of Linux as well http://www.nsa.gov/research/selinux/

Guess what OS they are using http://toolbar.netcraft.com/site_report?url=http://www.nsa.gov ?

The answer is that they are handling the outer defense line with Akamai that runs Linux.

34 posted on 11/19/2009 11:54:41 AM PST by AdmSmith
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To: AdmSmith

Wonder if that toolbar is good? lol


35 posted on 11/19/2009 11:56:53 AM PST by FromLori (FromLori)
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To: AdmSmith

Wonder if that OS toolbar is good? lol


36 posted on 11/19/2009 11:57:53 AM PST by FromLori (FromLori)
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