Microsoft Gives Vista Backdoor Keys To The Police

from the meaning-the-crooks-have-it-too dept

It's long been assumed that Microsoft has built in various "backdoors" for law enforcement to get around its own security, but now reader Kevin Stapp writes in to let us know that the company has also been literally handing out the keys to law enforcement. Apparently, they're giving out special USB keys that simply get around Microsoft's security, allowing the holder of the key to very quickly get forensic information (including internet surfing history), passwords and supposedly encrypted data off of a laptop. While you can understand why police like this, the very fact that the backdoor is there and that a bunch of these USB keys are out there pretty much guarantees that those with nefarious intent also have such keys. The second you build in such backdoors, no matter how noble the reason, you can rest assured that they will be used by criminals as well. No matter what, for those of you who didn't already know it, now you have more evidence as to why trusting Microsoft's "security" isn't such a good idea. Update: Some folks in the comments, and Ed Bott, claim that this post is a misreading of the original story. The USB key includes a bunch of standard tools, not access to a "backdoor." The confusion, on my part, was due to the original article claiming that the device "can decrypt passwords and analyze a computer's Internet activity, as well as data stored in the computer." In saying so, it appeared that the device must have access to a backdoor to decrypt the password -- but an update claims that it's merely "password security auditing technologies."

Filed Under: backdoor, security, vista
Companies: microsoft


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  1. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 29 Apr 2008 @ 7:52pm

    Re: Windows USB

    I have worked for Microsoft doing Windows security for a few years now, but the truth of the situation is clearly much different than reported.
    Well, if you want us to believe that you're really a Microsoft employee then you should provide your name and tell us what you official position in the company is. I could claim to be Bill Gates, but people would be foolish to believe me.
    There is no Microsoft USB backdoor key to Windows.
    You mean, that you know of? If you can prove that, then please do so. But an anonymous claim on a blog isn't exactly convincing and I haven't seen The Seattle Times retracting their story.
    I am not familiar with this particular tool set,...
    Then how is it that you can say that it does not do what the Seattle Times article says it does? And do you mean for us to believe that someone who has "worked for Microsoft doing Windows security for a few years now" isn't familiar with this tool? Then I'd question if you were really in the know at MS (if you actually worked there).

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