08.12.15

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The Huge, Collateral Cost of Microsoft’s Collusion With Five Eyes Espionage Agencies

Posted in Microsoft, Security, Windows at 4:51 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Michael S. Rogers
“I don’t want a back door. I want a front door.” — Director of the National Security Agency (NSA), April 2015

Summary: Microsoft Windows continues to be inherently insecure, at the very least because Microsoft worked to make intrusion possible by shady agencies that operate outside the law (much like cyber gangs)

IT IS no secret that Microsoft works closely with the NSA and other Five Eyes agencies. It is also no secret that Stuxnet was developed by those agencies and targets Microsoft Windows. After it had targeted Iran it sort of ‘spilled out’ and caused many billions in damages all around the world (we covered examples). Having gotten out of hand, Microsoft’s back doors for espionage agencies were soon exploited also by the “bad guys” (not that espionage agencies can be described as “good guys”). There is no substitute for absolute, scientifically-verifiable security and strong encryption. People who sell “Golden Key” dreams are non-technical war-loving liars. Based on this new article (Dan Goodin finally targets Microsoft for a change, having repeatedly bashed just Free software), a new Windows “exploit is reminiscent of those used to unleash Stuxnet worm.” To quote Goodin: “The vulnerability is reminiscent of a critical flaw exploited around 2008 by an NSA-tied hacking group dubbed Equation Group and later by the creators of the Stuxnet computer worm that disrupted Iran’s nuclear program. The vulnerability—which resided in functions that process so-called .LNK files Windows uses to display icons when a USB stick is plugged in—allowed the attackers to unleash a powerful computer worm that spread from computer to computer each time they interacted with a malicious drive.”

“GNU/Linux is designed for security from the ground up and if one does not believe it, one can freely scrutinise the code.”Any design that lets a USB device trigger commands at such high levels is a design that’s clearly not designed by security professionals. Many other issues tied to this design have been reported for over a decade and Microsoft is not fixing it. According to last year’s explosive report, titled “N.S.A. Devises Radio Pathway Into Computers”, the NSA “relies on a covert channel of radio waves that can be transmitted from tiny circuit boards and USB cards inserted surreptitiously into the computers.”

The media may go on about how Microsoft no longer delivering security patches is an issue, but as Microsoft tells the NSA about holes before patching them, what difference does it make? All versions of Windows, no matter how up to date they are, are vulnerable. It’s not an accident. “Both Microsoft and HP were insistent companies that hadn’t refreshed [Windows Server 2003] after 14 July,” said the report, “are exposing themselves to all sorts of security attacks, and that up-to-date patches and firmware are needed.”

No, their first mistake is that they use Windows anything (never mind Windows Server, irrespective of the version too). Windows is not designed to be secure. It has back doors and front doors. GNU/Linux is designed for security from the ground up and if one does not believe it, one can freely scrutinise the code.

“The continuous and broad peer-review enabled by publicly available source code supports software reliability and security efforts through the identification and elimination of defects that might otherwise go unrecognized by a more limited core development team.”

CIO David Wennergren, Department of Defense (October 2009)

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