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  Microsoft: Vista won't get a backdoor
Time: 20:53 EST/01:53 GMT | News Source: CNET | Posted By: John Quigley

Windows Vista won't have a backdoor that could be used by police forces to get into encrypted files, Microsoft has stressed. In February, a BBC News story suggested that the British government was in discussions with Microsoft over backdoor access to the operating system. A backdoor is a method of bypassing normal authentication to gain access to a computer without to the PC user knowing. But Microsoft has now quelled the suggestion that law enforcement might get such access. "Microsoft has not and will not put "backdoors" into Windows," a company representative said in a statement sent via e-mail.

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#1 By 1401 ( at 3/3/2006 9:20:19 PM
DAMN! The backdoor is my favorite!

#2 By 20505 ( at 3/3/2006 10:07:00 PM
I'm a back door man!

Jim Morrison of the "doors"

#3 By 1401 ( at 3/3/2006 10:33:20 PM
I'm a back door man!

chrishedlund of "ActiveWin"

#4 By 12071 ( at 3/5/2006 2:59:27 AM
The British government will not get their own backdoor added to Windows - instead they'll get to share one of the many backdoors already present in Windows for the NSA etc :)

#4 "but you can sue a robber for breaking in to your house"
Don't forget that the thief can also sue you for hurting themselves whilst in your home. Or they can sue you if you should, god forbid, try to protect your family/assets. Don't you love law :)

Yes but in the not so distant future with the magic of DRM you will not own anything that runs on your machine, instead you'll own a license which tells you what you can and cannot do with said program whilst on your machine. Can't wait for that!!!

#5 By 23275 ( at 3/5/2006 1:14:29 PM
#5, Chris - good or not, our NSA wouldn't need a back door of any kind.

If they want a system, it is theirs - they'd cut through any array of defenses and encryption that the private sector can afford so fast it would amaze even the most careful among us.

The good part is that no one of them ever would - and no court would ever be needed to control them. The people there are the best I have ever seen - truly incredible people and anyone of them so talented and bright that they'd be rock-stars in the private sector of computing - yet they dutifully work outrageous hours for next to nothing - although the cream pies in the cafeteria are the best one will ever taste.

Simple truth is that "oversight" is taught first and last - the people their really take great care to ensure that they protect US "Person" - that is anyone in the US - even non-citizens. Yes, there are standing lawful exceptions and they have dork to do with the FISA court. That applies ot hard lines with known end points. Packet based comms do not always feature that - hence the Annexes to USSID 18, which govern oversight. It is actually quite easy to isolate lawful communications - long before any privacy or civil rights could be impacted - after all, signals do have observable and measurable characteristics and not one that is in use by US persons can't be isolated and protected. Beyond that, no NSA employee would dare infringe on a US person - it just does not happen, because the people there are so connected to protecting the US and all the people living in it - I mean, they live, eat and breathe the constitution. I mean, they even built and gave away for free, a very hard version of Linux, just because they knew how porous it was - they feared that people would use versions of it that were so vulnerable that American businesses could be exploited by foreign powers - so on their own, the distribute a version that is "Hard" - all to protect people - not hurt them.
I know these things because I retired from there - a cryptanalyst. They are the last people on earth that you need be worried about and nearly all forms of protection that eally do help secure you, were ceated there. Not one priority is higher than protecting civil liberties - it is in fact, a directive that if a person were to even have knowledge of a violation and not report it, that it is a felony - 10 years! I do assess that the ones that you need fear are the asshat democrats that disclosed classified information to they could scare people and gain some political advantage. I know for a fact that these politicians are aware of such programs and how they are monitored - I have personally briefed some of them - after "they" ordered the collection! Many of them are still in the halls of Congress and still lying to people like you!
That's the real problem here - and the agency can't say a word to defend itself... Sorry to go on like this, but the truth is one thing and what the dems pump out is often quite another.
//out here//

#6 By 2459 ( at 3/5/2006 6:24:40 PM
It is likely that the person(s) that leaked information about the NSA surveilance program was an NSA employee(s) concerned about the legality of the program. If the program is deemed illegal, those employees would/should be protected as whistle-blowers.

Despite the nice picture you paint of the NSA and their concern for civil liberties, they have engaged in domestic surveilance before. While I'm not faulting everyone in the organization, I am pointing out that some may not share the same ethical/legal standards.

#7 By 12071 ( at 3/5/2006 9:48:58 PM
#7 I admire your patriotism and faith in the NSA - but don't kid yourself, they still need a backdoor. Sure they have the ability to break encryptions faster than any one of us can possibly imagine - but that still takes time, in many cases more time then they have before they will die. It's much faster to have a backdoor and slightly less faster to have the person who encrypted the data in the first place so that they can be "encouraged" to give them the key (whether that's through torture or threatening the lives of everyone they love depends on the particular individual.

At the same time as I admire your patriotism, I'm amazed that if you are in fact a cryptoanalyst you could say what you did - it shows an almost complete ignorance of cryptology. Unless of course you're talking about cracking someone's 56-bit key! Anyone that actually cares about the security of their data uses good algorithms with much larger keys - the standard where I work is 1024-bit and even then nothing really secret is encoded with such a small key.

So I don't want to take anything away from the NSA - they have a lot of truly brilliant people working for them and it would be an amazing place to work. So although they don't require anywhere near as much help as the rest of us would in breaking encryptions they will take a backdoor anyday of the week and twice on Sunday!

#8 By 23275 ( at 3/6/2006 2:34:49 AM
#9, Chris, the place is amazingly complex and diverse, and don't be fooled, I don't care how big the key is - it doesn't matter. Beyond that, you have some basic facts wrong, cryptology is the science opposite the creation of encryption systems - cryptanalysis is he science of recovering them. Of course, a brute force effort is one way, but there are many others and none of them require a designed back door. And...I'm not only a professionalized cryptanalyst, but a professionalized Enciphered Communications and Signals Analyst - was for decades. What you have stated is simply foolish and naive. The reality and real goal for a cryptanalyst is to recover the system - not just the reduction of an encrypted message to plain text values - that can always be achieved and very often using brute force. Since public/private key systems are so well known and published, how they work is already known and as such, quite easy to exploit. In a machine system, recovering the key used in one message is pretty easy - say you encrypt an email message - you send it via an email system - by doing that alone, you've given even a noob CA every "crib" he'd need - message format, language used, date time...lovely little gems. The truth is, the best protection US persons have from the NSA is the NSA itself - the people there who respect and cherrish personal privacy and the rule of law. Given the known properties associated with any public system and worse, the way they are used...the agency wouldn't even breathe hard to recover it. In fact, technicians would do that work - not CA's or ECA's - yearlings on an internship. All that said, I am not going to tell you how to make something truly hard - that would be irresponsible - jus be sure to count the NSA as among your best friends as they'd rather die than injur any US Person. The people there are not just super smart - they are decent and through a very long process of assessment, proven to be so. Any bad people they have had [spies] were not producers, or scientists - they were administrative people that stole from all of us - including you. You would be impressed with the computing science is truly amazing - beyond any imagination. I remember using windowing systems nearly ten years before the first systems like that appeared out here - and they still have yet to reach the resolutions obtained way back then. That and other almost too wild to believe stuff like being personally taught micro-electronics from the tiny team that invented that science - I used to have to literally shake my head clear opposite the people that I was blessed enough to learn from. All this business about the NSA recently is just sad and none of it is true. No other agency like it is as decent and dedicated to protecting all people - even Britain's GCHQ, as good as they are, do not come close. Chris, I'd just count them as being perhaps the only agency in any government that you can trust.

#9 By 19992 ( at 3/6/2006 12:19:18 PM
Yep, good old "Fort Fumble"...Always there to protect us...Amazing we haven't all been obliterated by now.

#10 By 1401 ( at 3/6/2006 8:14:55 PM
How did this turn into a debate about the NSA? I thought we were talking about back doors...

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