In researching the stunning pervasiveness of spying by the government (it’s much more wide spread than you’ve heard even now), we ran across the fact that the FBI wants software programmers to install a backdoor in all software.
Digging a little further, we found a 1999 article by leading European computer publication Heise which noted that the NSA had already built a backdoor into all Windows software:
A careless mistake by Microsoft programmers has revealed that special access codes prepared by the US National Security Agency have been secretly built into Windows. The NSA access system is built into every version of the Windows operating system now in use, except early releases of Windows 95 (and its predecessors)…
“The first discovery of the new NSA access system was made two years ago by British researcher Dr Nicko van Someren [an expert in computer security]. But it was only a few weeks ago when a second researcher rediscovered the access system. With it, he found the evidence linking it to NSA…
“According to Andrew Fernandez of Cryptonym, the result of having the secret key inside your Windows operating system “is that it is tremendously easier for the NSA to load unauthorized security services on all copies of Microsoft Windows, and once these security services are loaded, they can effectively compromise your entire operating system“. The NSA key is contained inside all versions of Windows from Windows 95 OSR2 onwards…”
We have repeatedly pointed out that widespread spying on Americans began prior to 9/11.
Barry Ritholtz picked this up from Washington’s Blog and as part of his journey as a recovering Republican – he’s republished this at his own blog.
There certainly aren’t any longtime geeks who are surprised to read details of Microsoft putting in backdoors for the NSA.