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06.04.15

With SSH Keys on Windows the World Will be a Vastly Less Secure Place

Posted in GNU/Linux, Microsoft, Security, Windows at 11:27 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

“Our products just aren’t engineered for security.”

Brian Valentine, Microsoft executive

Summary: Another warning about the grave consequences of putting SSH endpoints on an operating system which is compromised by design

QUITE a few readers (and also pro-Microsoft bullies) have written to us regarding yesterday's article about OpenSSH and Microsoft, the first PRISM company which also uses broken (by design) ciphers to act as passive back doors. Microsoft is losing and is getting left behind, hence it tries to ‘embrace’ the competition. It’s not a good gesture but an effort to entice people into Windows prison, i.e. inherent insecurity. OpenSSH is supposed to be all about security, which Windows is inherently (by design) not compatible with. Does anyone really want to put public and private keys on a machine that is remotely accessible by spies? That’s suicidal for a government, corporation, legal firm, journalist, etc.

“We already know, thanks to leaks from Edward Snowden, that spies in the West are systematically harvesting passwords of systems administrators and then use these to hijack/infiltrate entire networks.”Microsoft promotion sites continue to praise Microsoft, whereas other sites cautiously welcome the move [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6]. This has been mentioned in various news sites since we first covered it, some Linux-centric ones ones too [1, 2]. In Linux Questions, for example, comments included “welcome microsoft to the year 2000.” Or even: “It was nice having known about you, PuTTY.”

To set the record straight, if we correctly understand Microsoft’s plans (all they are at this stage is just speculative, as there is not even a timetable, let alone any code), there will be increased access by espionage-seeking, power-motivated spies to people’s SSH keys. This will decrease overall security. Windows will be the weakest link. We already know, thanks to leaks from Edward Snowden, that spies in the West are systematically harvesting passwords of systems administrators and then use these to hijack/infiltrate entire networks all around the world. All that Microsoft’s involvement can achieve in this case is an increase in compromised computer networks. Putting SSH keys on Windows is the technical equivalent of putting tanks on rhapsodies (rendering the tanks sinkable).

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