12.06.10

Wikileaks/Cablegate Reveals That Microsoft Gave Windows Source Code to TOPSEC, Which Trains and Employs Chinese Cyberspies

Posted in Microsoft, Security, Windows at 11:56 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Kevin Mitnick
Putting Windows source code in the hands
of the Kevin Mitnicks of China

Summary: Microsoft equips private companies — not just governments — with just what they need to intrude all Windows-running computers, namely a key to potential remote access without liability

NOT just incompetence and negligence [1, 2, 3] are the cause of Microsoft’s security problems. Based on Cablegate leaks, it is possible that Microsoft’s secret (and poorly audited) code is exploited so often in China because Microsoft gives them access to this source code (which security researchers in the West cannot see and scrutinise prior to release in binary form).

Several days ago we showed some Egypt cables (prior to Wikileaks being targeted by censors) and it helped show just how closely Microsoft works with governments on ‘security’. The Guardian noticed this independently from us and highlighted the following block (filed under “US embassy cables: China uses access to Microsoft source code to help plot cyber warfare, US fears”):

56. (S//NF) CTAD comment: Additionally, CNITSEC enterprises has recruited Chinese hackers in support of nationally-funded “network attack scientific research projects.” From June 2002 to March 2003, TOPSEC employed a known Chinese hacker, Lin Yong (a.k.a. Lion and owner of the Honker Union of China), as senior security service engineer to manage security service and training. Venus Tech, another CNITSEC enterprise privy to the GSP, is also known to affiliate with XFocus, one of the few Chinese hacker groups known to develop exploits to new vulnerabilities in a short period of time, as evidenced in the 2003 release of Blaster Worm (See CTAD Daily Read File (DRF) April 4, 2008). 57. (S//NF) CTAD comment: While links between top Chinese companies and the PRC are not uncommon, it illustrates the PRC’s use of its “private sector” in support of governmental information warfare objectives, especially in its ability to gather, process, and exploit information. As evidenced with TOPSEC, there is a strong possibility the PRC is harvesting the talents of its private sector in order to bolster offensive and defensive computer network operations capabilities. (Appendix sources 51-52)

So, not just governments are getting access to source code. The “agreement with Microsoft… allowed select companies such as TOPSEC access to MICROSOFT source code in order to secure the Windows platform.” Here it is in raw form. “TOPSEC that trains most of china cyberspys,” Oiaohm quotes from it. “It’s in that cable,” he says. He then gives another direct quote from the cable: “TOPSEC provides services and training for the PLA and has recruited hackers in the past.” On this one he remarks: “Then latter on in the cable to says they have been granted access to MS source code.” The remainder can be read in our latest IRC logs, which make operation of this Web site entirely transparent, unlike governments. “Security by obscurity is that you don’t give the source code to the people attacking your system,” Oiaohm adds and “[i]If you are not using Security by obscurity you might as well publish the source code for everyone to see… At least then you have a better chance that truful ones will tell you where the flaws are.” (typos corrected)

“Proper obscurity can be done with open source”
      –Oiaohm
He continues: “that cable is a security research document in what the hell has gone wrong… That the USA was being breached so much… Also if you dig deeper the USA side is doing the same thing… Both are trying to use closed source to give them a cyberadvantage while both have access to the source code… Proper obscurity can be done with open source… Each system must be able to have many different combinations in its security system to attacker is not quite sure what he will be walking into… So attacks take longer to develop… MS Windows where most installs have basically the same security config… Basically have a obscurity level of nothing.”

Another cable speaks of an “invitation for a private meeting with a named DoS employee. The attached Microsoft Word document was a malicious”. Microsoft is mostly mentioned negatively (for security reasons) in Cablegate, at least thus far. What will be revealed in the remaining 99% of Cablegate (the part which has not been published yet)?

In actual security news (not leaks of old confidential reports), Vista 7 is being bricked by software which claims to improve Windows security:

THOSE WHO ARE RUNNING 64-bit Windows 7 systems should not download the update for AVG Technologies’ AV software.

AVG has withdrawn the update after complaints that the update completely bricked systems by forcing computers to go into an infinite crash loop.

Users of GNU/Linux and BSD never have such problems. Why won’t the US government encourage adoption of Free software, whose transparency makes it secure? It’s the same fallacy about secrecy which toppled both Windows security and now the US government. It arguably censors Wikileaks more zealously than other governments.

Share in other sites/networks: These icons link to social bookmarking sites where readers can share and discover new web pages.
  • Reddit
  • email

This post is also available in Gemini over at:

gemini://gemini.techrights.org/2010/12/06/microsoft-topsec-in-china/

If you liked this post, consider subscribing to the RSS feed or join us now at the IRC channels.

Pages that cross-reference this one

A Single Comment

  1. twitter said,

    December 6, 2010 at 4:09 pm

    Gravatar

    Source code disclosure is not a source of insecurity, it is the exclusive disclosure of insecure code to malicious parties that’s the problem. When software is free it can gain a high degree of both transparency and security like OpenBSD and gnu/linux have. When software is not free, the owners lack resources to fix things. Known problems persist for decades and new problems are constantly found when old, non free code bases are forced together in monstrosities like Microsoft Windows. The absolute worst case is when malicious organizations are given exclusive access to source code that other people use. Sadly, this is always the case when people are using non free software but few have betrayed their users the way Microsoft has.

    It has long been known that sharing code with China and other US enemies was a US national security risk. Microsoft representatives testified to this in the Netscape anti-trust trials. Just a few later they started sharing code with the PRC, the former KGB and many other US hostile organizations. It is nice to see that US diplomats were aware of this betrayal but we have to wonder why the US government has not acted on the knowledge. Windows should be dumped and those responsible at Microsoft should be put on trail for espionage.

What Else is New


  1. Links 2/8/2021: Linux 5.14 RC4 and 20% Growth in Steam

    Links for the day



  2. IRC Proceedings: Sunday, August 01, 2021

    IRC logs for Sunday, August 01, 2021



  3. Links 1/8/2021: LibreOffice 7.2 RC2 and Lakka 3.3

    Links for the day



  4. Was Microsoft Ever First in the Market?

    Confronting the false belief that Microsoft ever innovates anything of significance or is "first" in some market/s



  5. Links 1/8/2021: 4MLinux 37.0, IBM Fluff, and USMCA Update

    Links for the day



  6. Microsoft Knows That When Shareholders Realise Azure Has Failed the Whole Boat Will Sink

    The paranoia at Microsoft is well justified; they've been lying to shareholders to inflate share prices and they don't really deliver the goods, just false hopes and unfulfilled promises



  7. [Meme] Nobody and Nothing Harms Europe's Reputation Like the EPO Does

    Europe’s second-largest institution, the EPO, has caused severe harm/damage to Europe’s economy and reputation; its attacks on the courts and on justice itself (even on constitutions in the case of UPC — another attempt to override the law and introduce European software patents) won’t be easily forgotten; SUEPO has meanwhile (on Saturday, link at the bottom in German) reminded people that Benoît Battistelli and António Campinos have driven away the EPO’s most valuable workers or moral compass



  8. IRC Proceedings: Saturday, July 31, 2021

    IRC logs for Saturday, July 31, 2021



  9. [Meme] When it Comes to Server Share, Microsoft Azure is Minuscule (But Faking It)

    Don't believe the lies told by Microsoft's charlatans and frauds; Azure has been a total failure and that's why there are layoffs as well



  10. [Meme] Mozilla Has Turned From Technical to Marketing

    Way back, long before Mozilla and Firefox got hijacked by politics (turning Mozilla into a VPN reseller that lies about its stance on privacy), geeks were driving the company, not corporate lawyers and spying/marketing people



  11. Over 1,500 (Known/Unorphaned) Gemini Capsules and Over 160,000 Page Requests in gemini.techrights.org During July

    Techrights is expanding at gemini:// (Gemini space) and over 1,500 capsules are reported to have been found (less than 4 months ago it was about 1,000)



  12. Links 31/7/2021: Kernel Additions and Linux Mint 20.3 Release Date

    Links for the day



  13. Microsoft Azure Stagnating

    Reprinted with permission from Mitchel Lewis, former Microsoft employee



  14. For 17 Days (and Counting) António Campinos Has Failed to Respond to Call for Compliance With the Law

    Team Campinos has been so arrogant and so evasive that there’s no indication (yet) that it will follow court orders (Willy ‘Guillaume’ Minnoye openly bragged about ignoring court orders and he's still cheering for the EPO's abuses); therefore, staff of the EPO takes collective action



  15. Raw: Elodie Bergot Breaking the Law by Threatening Against the Exercise of Fundamental Rights

    Over the years we saw a number of rude letters from Elodie Bergot, the grossly under-qualified spouse of a friend of Vichyite Benoît Battistelli; most of these we never published (we already have these and can always publish if the need arises), but those paranoid and insecure “Mafia”-like ‘cabal’ need to be exposed for the mobsters they are; for nearly a decade they’ve illegally bullied EPO staff in clear violation of the law (and for over 3 years António Campinos has kept those bullies on board); why does Europe do nothing and why is it never holding high-profile abusers accountable (only low-level facilitators)? Is it because the EU too is being infiltrated by them?



  16. Linspire Should Be Avoided in 2021 Just Like It Was Avoided 14 Years Ago

    The brand "Linspire" was brought back, but the agenda seems to be more or less the same, namely pushing proprietary software and serving Microsoft's commercial agenda (in 'Linux' clothing)



  17. The Death of Freenode Would Be Freenode's Own Fault

    Freenode is going dark and now it’s asking people to create accounts at IRC.com (just to get back into the network that they may have already occupied for decades) as if Freenode owns “IRC” as a whole



  18. Links 31/7/2021: KDE Progress and Activision Catastrophe

    Links for the day



  19. IRC Proceedings: Friday, July 30, 2021

    IRC logs for Friday, July 30, 2021



  20. The Smartest Meter of All

    Yesterday a lady came over to take our power readings (electric/gas meter); secure these people's jobs as they help protect people's privacy (dignity) at home



  21. [Meme] A Web of False Dichotomies

    A reminder that Techrights is fully available (all blog posts and wiki pages) in gemini://



  22. Freenode Shrinks by Another Quarter and Gemini Continues to Grow (For Techrights at Least)

    Freenode continues to perish faster than we've imagined; it's a good thing that we've had contingencies set up; regarding the monopolised and increasingly centralised Web, we're still making baby steps towards weaning ourselves off it



  23. Links 31/7/2021: Wine 6.14 and Chrome 93 Beta

    Links for the day



  24. European Media Does Not Care About Europe's Second-Largest Institution Crushing Basic Laws and Fundamental Rights

    New video about the latest publication from SUEPO (the EPO’s staff union); it was published yesterday, seeing that the “Mafia” (what EPO staff actually calls the management!) hasn’t done anything to comply with a wide-ranging set of court rulings from ILO-AT; why has the media said nothing about this and what does that say about today’s media? The material is all in the public domain, in widely understood languages, and SUEPO spoke about it more than 3 weeks ago.



  25. Links 30/7/2021: Distro Comparisons and Tootle Introduced

    Links for the day



  26. [Meme] Enforcing ILO-AT Rulings...

    We’re still waiting for a statement — any statement (direct or indirect) — from EPO management, seeing that almost a month has passed



  27. 'Open Source' as a Failed Initiative

    A closer look at the dire state of the Open Source Initiative, or OSI, which no longer protects Open Source (let alone software freedom) but instead helps openwashing, Microsoft entrapment, and a coup against the FSF



  28. [Meme] Rowan and António Sittin' on a Tree...

    How much longer can Team Campinos keep issuing tons of noisy and self-congratulatory puff pieces to (perhaps) distract from the elephant in the 10th floor of the Isar building (EPO HQ)? Staff won't wait for eternity.



  29. IRC Proceedings: Thursday, July 29, 2021

    IRC logs for Thursday, July 29, 2021



  30. Half the People in This Letter Are IBM Employees

    IBM seems to be continuing its war on the FSF because IBM wants to own everything (CentOS being ‘canned’ was just part of the plan)


RSS 64x64RSS Feed: subscribe to the RSS feed for regular updates

Home iconSite Wiki: You can improve this site by helping the extension of the site's content

Home iconSite Home: Background about the site and some key features in the front page

Chat iconIRC Channel: Come and chat with us in real time

Recent Posts