Skip to comments.Microsoft turns over all Win7 and server source code to Russia's new KGB
Posted on 07/15/2010 10:37:24 AM PDT by Zakeet
It seems absurd. Microsoft, Americas preeminent software maker, provides the operating system for more than 90% of the worlds computers including those used by the U.S. Government.
Microsoft has always carefully protected the source code to its operating systems. In fact, a key distinction between the various Windows variants and open source OSs like Linux and BSD is that Linux and BSD are open source.
Microsoft protects its source code for a variety of reasons. One reason Microsoft doesnt release its code is that its source code is the companys crown jewels, its proprietary advantage.
Another is consistency. If the source code were made public, it might be possible for customers to fork the OS, leading to a wide variety of somewhat dissimilar distros of Windows.
But the prime reason is security. If its source code were made public, it might be easier for hackers to find vulnerabilities and exploit them anything from breaking into systems to merely breaking to serial number validation process.
Thats why a little piece of news covered by ZDNet UKs Tom Espiner is so astonishing.
According to Espiner, Microsoft has turned over all its source code for Windows 7, along with its source for Microsoft Windows Server 2008 R2, Microsoft Office 2010 and Microsoft SQL Server to Russias Federalnaya sluzhba bezopasnosti Rossiyskoy Federatsii. The FSB is present-day Russias successor to the infamous Soviet-era KGB.
As has become quite apparent over the last week, Russia is far from out of the espionage business.
As Espiner reports, this is all about business, rather than state security. Microsoft has a Government Security Program where it allows governments access to its source code, ostensibly as part of the companys various bids to sell software to international governments.
(Excerpt) Read more at zdnet.com ...
All your money are belong to us ... and we'll even collaborate with enemies of the United States to get more of it
Time to download Ubuntu.
I reckon XP will just have to do for now...
Should have given them Vista...
That ought to fix them Russkies!
“The case typifies the challenges law enforcement is going to have getting past encryption barriers,” Superintendent Hay said.
“My understanding is that Windows 7 has more encryption functions in it, which is problematic for us [police].”
Windows 7, which replaces the widely criticised Windows Vista, features advanced programs that can lock hard drives or portable flash drive files, allowing them to be accessed only by using encryption codes similar to those used in online banking.
The programs - BitLocker, which was featured in Windows Vista, and BitLocker To Go - were designed to help users encrypt files easily.
“All that needs to be done by the user is to right-click the device in the Windows 7 operating system and pick the BitLocker option from the menu that is popping up,” Microsoft says on its website.
While Microsoft affirms the “unbreakable” nature of its new encryption technology, the company disputes claims that criminals would successfully use the programs to lock out police and other law-enforcement agencies.
“Each time we have worked with law enforcement on any investigations we typically haven’t found BitLocker has been a hurdle to the investigation,” said Stuart Strathdee, the chief security adviser to Microsoft Australia.
However, he was quick to assure users this did not mean there was a way to crack the encryption.
“There is no back door under any circumstances; there is no way,” he said.
“In most jurisdictions that I am aware of, failure to disclose passwords, encryption keys and that sort of thing is also an offence and there’s not many people who will turn around and won’t disclose that sort of thing for fear of facing further charges.
“Criminals themselves are concerned about losing encryption keys or recovery keys and normally they are stored in fairly recoverable formats.”
Mr Strathdee said only a few criminals had successfully withheld their passwords and encryption keys from police.
“From the law-enforcement groups I have worked with, that typically hasn’t been a problem they have encountered and if it is we are not seeing it reported widely,” he said.
“I don’t think the number of people which would be involved in that [criminal] activity is significant enough for us to warrant not using it for the general encryption of personal information.”
Superintendent Hay said that wider society should not be restricted by criminal activity but he was concerned the rapid development of advanced encryption technology put police at a disadvantage.
“We certainly can’t allow society to be limited in the main by the negative actions of a few,” he said.
“While encryption protects users on one hand, it can make the issue of discovery of evidence more problematic.
“We have to take on running battles as we go. With another bit of kit with new opportunities we just have to deal with those as we go.”
The Russkies have had that source for years.
Yeah, but if the Russkies want to take down the U.S. are they going to infect/manipulate Windows or Ubuntu?
One primary difference between MS’s products and Ubuntu is the whole ‘security though obscurity’ thing.
Ubuntu doesn’t have a curtain to hide behind, and the Soviets are (per the article) behind MS’s curtain.
What good would your Ubuntu machine do you when there is no internet because all of the servers running Microsoft have gone down, all of the banks servers are down and there is no electricity on the national grid because all of the electric utilities run Microsoft.
At least I could still play chess on my computer.
Looks like it’s time to buy a better firewall.
Well we all have our priorities.
For me life would not be worth living if the Ruskies take down all of the windows machines.
I would just die if I couldnt play HALO with my online buds. ;)
Most of the internet backbone is non-MS based dedicated hardware. (ie, switches/routers, etc)
Reliability issues you know.
However none of them will work with out the electrical grid for long which I know is controlled with MS based machines.
How long do you think it would take them to switch to a non-MS based solution?
Much more user friendly to guys like me that are new to Linux. I've tried a few of them and find Mint to be my favorite.
Ten years and ten billion dollars (maybe more).
I found just the opposite to be true. Although, the Mint I tried was Alyssa. Not sure if the newest distro is better.
Oh wonderful. Let the Ruskies have it! LOL
Expect some terrific malware in the coming years after those Russian hackers get done with it!
I hope you are wrong, because 10 years without power would kill the economy deader than a dead thing thats dead!How long do you think it would take them to switch to a non-MS based solution?“Ten years and ten billion dollars (maybe more).”
Now that would have been a virtual gulag; forced to sift through Vista code.
Old news. The Chinese already got to see earlier versions.
Well on the other hand with out power it will probably take longer.
But it will be cheaper because labor will be cheaper.
Not very many jobs for IT techs when nobody has power to run their computers you know.
Faced with the prospect of being without power for 10 years, I am quite positive that they could do it in a week or less.
Pulling the rabbit out of the hat is a lot easier than most people realize ;)
Speaking realistically; I dont even know if anyone writes PLC code for other OSs.
I learned something today (like everyday on FR).
"How about a nice game of Global Thermonuclear War?"
But I thought open source was communist? Oh, wait....
The Russkies have had that source for years.
Yeah, but see the difference here is that everybody has access to Linux source code. In this case MS is giving its source code to Russian business (I mean, unless you actually trust the Kremlin to honor US IP rights...) while it denies the same to US businesses.
Its a practical business decision based on the practical reality of having to work with countries run by totalitarian(ish) governments, I understand that. But lets not ignore that the Russians are getting things from MS that we are not.
If it wasn’t for the Godless communists who wrote linux, good, patriotic American companies like microsoft would not be forced to show their source code to anyone. You know, Linus’s parents were Card Carrying Communists. Squawk!
Just in case you missed it. :-)
Although sometimes I do wonder why he doesn't wander back here occasionally.
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