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
    Mathew, 30 Apr 2008 @ 6:35am

    and you trust cops with this..?

    Well looks like we just need to make a workaround to stop this, like any other security threat. I consider it equivelent to an exploit myself.

    On the plus side, they gave it to cops, which means it will be easy for us to buy a copy off of some degenerate gambling alchoholic with a badge.

    Let me first say that I am a huge Microsoft and Vista supported. I fight and argue every bad thing some ignorant half educated citizen has to say about them. And yes, Vista is the best OS. However on this one action, damn, how stupid. There is no way to stick up for you this time Bill.

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