Wednesday, August 21, 2013 at 7:37PM
“A Special Surveillance Chip”
According to leaked internal documents from the German Federal Office for Information Security (BSI) that Die Zeit obtained, IT experts figured out that Windows 8, the touch-screen enabled, super-duper, but sales-challenged Microsoft operating system is outright dangerous for data security. It allows Microsoft to control the computer remotely through a built-in backdoor. Keys to that backdoor are likely accessible to the NSA – and in an unintended ironic twist, perhaps even to the Chinese.
The backdoor is called “Trusted Computing,” developed and promoted by the Trusted Computing Group, founded a decade ago by the all-American tech companies AMD, Cisco, Hewlett-Packard, IBM, Intel, Microsoft, and Wave Systems. Its core element is a chip, the Trusted Platform Module (TPM), and an operating system designed for it, such as Windows 8. Trusted Computing Group has developed the specifications of how the chip and operating systems work together.
Its purpose is Digital Rights Management and computer security. The system decides what software had been legally obtained and would be allowed to run on the computer, and what software, such as illegal copies or viruses and Trojans, should be disabled. The whole process would be governed by Windows, and through remote access, by Microsoft.
Now there is a new set of specifications out, creatively dubbed TPM 2.0. While TPM allowed users to opt in and out, TPM 2.0 is activated by default when the computer boots up. The user cannot turn it off. Microsoft decides what software can run on the computer, and the user cannot influence it in any way. Windows governs TPM 2.0. And what Microsoft does remotely is not visible to the user. In short, users of Windows 8 with TPM 2.0 surrender control over their machines the moment they turn it on for the first time.
It would be easy for Microsoft or chip manufacturers to pass the backdoor keys to the NSA and allow it to control those computers. NO, Microsoft would never do that, we protest. Alas, Microsoft, as we have learned from the constant flow of revelations, informs the US government of security holes in its products well before it issues fixes so that government agencies can take advantage of the holes and get what they’re looking for.
Experts at the BSI, the Ministry of Economic Affairs, and the Federal Administration warned unequivocally against using computers with Windows 8 and TPM 2.0. One of the documents from early 2012 lamented, “Due to the loss of full sovereignty over the information technology, the security objectives of ‘confidentiality’ and ‘integrity’ can no longer be guaranteed.”
Elsewhere, the document warns, “This can have significant consequences on the IT security of the Federal Administration.” And it concludes, “The use of ‘Trusted Computing’ technology in this form ... is unacceptable for the Federal Administration and for operators of critical infrastructure.”
Another document claims that Windows 8 with TPM 2.0 is “already” no longer usable. But Windows 7 can “be operated safely until 2020.” After that other solutions would have to be found for the IT systems of the Administration.
If there saying this the issue will grow so it's going to be a wait and see what Microsoft has to say!
Microsoft® Windows Insider MVP - Windows Security
German government denies Windows 'back door' claims
The German government doles out common-sense advice on using Windows 8 and TPM 2.0 chips in conjunction, but it's distorted by some observers into wild claims of "back doors."
by Zack Whittaker August 22, 2013 10:57 AM PDT CNET
The German government on Thursday publicly denied a German newspaper report about an alleged "back door for the NSA."
The same newspaper has now acknowledged that the German authorities have rejected its initial reporting.
"The so-called Trusted Computing is a back door for the NSA," wrote Zeit's Patrick Beuth on Tuesday, according to a translated version, referring to recent reports pointing at the U.S. government's mass surveillance programs. "The operating system contains a back door in their view, cannot be closed. This back door is called Trusted Computing and could have the effect that Microsoft can control any computer remotely and control. And thus the NSA."
Except, that's not true.
Following the German publication's story on Tuesday, reports began to spread -- albeit a little away from the mainstream media -- suggesting that a small "trusted computing" chip embedded in many modern computers can aid the U.S. government's surveillance efforts. As a result, the report claimed -- citing an internal document from Germany's Office for Information Security (BSI) -- the latest version of Windows in certain circumstances could not be trusted in a government setting.
This is getting interesting as the German Government Denies Claims.
Microsoft® Windows Insider MVP - Windows Security
Very interesting article.I had heard the same things prior to release of windows 8 about built in backdoors.There is no doubt in my mind that there are backdoors built into a great many things.I am a conspiracy theorist at heart i suppose.Most world powers will stop at nothing to get a leg up.That being said,i have no intention to stop using windows 8.