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CNN: NSA key to Windows: an open question

Sep 06, 1999, 21:44 (3 Talkback[s])

"Microsoft operating systems have a backdoor entrance for the National Security Agency, a cryptography expert said Friday, but the software giant denied the report and other experts differed on it."

"UC Berkeley's David Wagner, a computer security expert, said the "does not open a massive back door allowing NSA to spy on your computer.' ... It could be that NSA is making it easier to manage their own computers, Wagner said."

"Fernandes initially gave his report at... a late-night session where a few dozen experts in the audience were 'shocked' by the alleged security flaw, said UC Berkeley cryptography researcher Ian Goldberg."

"Fernandes said the evidence shows that the NSA is involved in the key but it fails to indicate who owns the key. Even if Microsoft claims the key is its own, Fernandes said he believes the key was put in the Windows products at the request of the NSA.

'They've got their hand in the cookie jar and they're trying to convince you they aren't taking a cookie, they're checking to make sure there's lots of cookies left for you,' Fernandes said. ... He called for Microsoft to be more honest about its security infrastructure and the 'deal they had to cut with the government to allow the exportation of cryptography in Windows.' "

"The United States limits the exportation of 'strong' cryptography, mainly to make it easier for its intelligence agencies to do its work."

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