THE USA GOVERNMENT'S cryptologic organisation, the National Security
Agency, has admitted that it is behind some of the security changes
to Microsoft's operating system Vista.
According to the Washington
Post, the agency which was once so secret that it was jokingly referred
to as 'No such Agency' has admitted making 'unspecified contributions'
Tony Sager, the NSA's chief of vulnerability analysis and operations
group, told the Post that it was the agency's intention to help everyone
The NSA used a red and a blue team to pull apart the software. The
red team posed as "the determined, technically competent adversary"
to disrupt, corrupt or steal information. The Blue team helped Defense
Department system administrators with Vista's configuration.
Vole said that it has sought help from the NSA over the last four years.
Apparently its skills can be seen in the Windows XP consumer version
and the Windows Server 2003 for corporate customers.
The assistance is at the US taxpayers' expense, although the NSA says
it all makes perfect sense. Not only is the NSA protecting United States
business, its own Defense Department uses VoleWare so it is in the government's
interest to make sure it is as secure as possible.
Microsoft is not the only one to tap the spooks. Apple, with its Mac
OSX operating system, and Novell with its SUSE Linux also asked the
NSA what it thought of their products. The NSA is quite good at finding
weapons of mass destruction that are not there.