Friday, July 12, 2013

Microsoft a big NSA information provider - gave NSA ability to crack MS's own encryption programs

A few days ago, it was reported  that NSA code had been inserted in Google's Android open-sourced OS (much to the fury of open-source code advocates everywhere), it was noted it has been public information that over a decade ago, Microsoft had inadvertently left clear signs that it was providing backdoor access to its legacy Microsoft operating systems. It turns out that this was merely the beginning.

According to another just released report by the Guardian citing Snowden files, "Microsoft has collaborated closely with US intelligence services to allow users' communications to be intercepted, including helping the National Security Agency to circumvent the company's own encryption, according to top-secret documents obtained by the Guardian."

From the Guardian:

The files provided by Edward Snowden illustrate the scale of co-operation between Silicon Valley and the intelligence agencies over the last three years. They also shed new light on the workings of the top-secret Prism program, which was disclosed by the Guardian and the Washington Post last month.

The documents show that:
  • Microsoft helped the NSA to circumvent its encryption to address concerns that the agency would be unable to intercept web chats on the new portal;
  • The agency already had pre-encryption stage access to email on, including Hotmail;
  • The company worked with the FBI this year to allow the NSA easier access via Prism to its cloud storage service SkyDrive, which now has more than 250 million users worldwide;
  • Microsoft also worked with the FBI's Data Intercept Unit to "understand" potential issues with a feature in that allows users to create email aliases;
  • Skype, which was bought by Microsoft in October 2011, worked with intelligence agencies last year to allow Prism to collect video of conversations as well as audio;
  • Material collected through Prism is routinely shared with the FBI and CIA, with one NSA document describing the program as a "team sport".
Read the complete story at this link.

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