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German government: Windows 8 is a security risk

Posted at 21 August 2013 20:21 CET by Jan Willem Aldershoff

Internal documents from the German government reveal that their IT experts consider Windows 8 a security risk. They warn for security and espionage risks on Microsoft’s latest operating system. According to the experts there’s a backdoor in Windows 8 that can be used to spy on users or take over control remotely.


Their concern is mainly about the Trusted Computing functionality. This should help to protect the computer against e.g. viruses, provide better DRM and prevent cheating,  but is also controversial.

Critics argue that it limits users in their computer usage because what is allowed and what’s not is controlled by large companies like Microsoft, HP Cisco or Intel. With the upcoming Trusted Computing 2.0 standard, that should become part of Windows in 2015 , it’s possible that only Microsoft can decide what software is trusted and what not. It can also remotely make software untrusted and therefore unusable. And according to the German experts, because there is remote access possible, it could help security services to spy on users using the OS.

As the hardware is so secure it’s also harder to see what’s going on inside. That could make it possible for secret services to force manufacturers and developers of Trusted Computing chips and software to include backdoors. Countries as China and the United States would be likely candidates as the development and manufacturing of the software and chips is often done there.

Microsoft claims that it will be possible to avoid Trusted Computing 2.0 by purchasing computers that don’t make use of the standard. But if manufacturers decide not to make these anymore, there is another option. The city of Munchen in Germany has switch from Windows to an open source operating system: Linux.




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There are 9 comments

Posted on: 21 Aug 13 21:24
    Trusted Computing is a snake pit, and when version 2.0 arrives in 2015 there is going to be a sh*tstorm of reactions from computer enthusiasts around the net. You think DRM is intrusive now...wait till it completely infiltrates the hardware that you are using.

    This isn't just a Windows 8 issue.
    MyCE Senior Member
    Posted on: 21 Aug 13 22:49
      Looks like my trusty Atari 800 and Space Invaders Cartridge will be soldiering along for a bit longer. As for my serious needs, when XP is no longer useable a stable flavour of Linux (per German advise) gets the nod.
      MyCE Senior Member
      Posted on: 22 Aug 13 01:53
        Why do they call it "Trusted Computing", anyway? There's obviously no trust happening at all! Microsoft doesn't trust me, and I don't trust them! There's no more love in commercial software, anymore. And too think... Microsoft once described Linux as the equivalent of communism. How backwards is that?
        MyCE Senior Member
        Posted on: 22 Aug 13 04:08
          Originally Posted by Kerry56
          Trusted Computing is a snake pit, and when version 2.0 arrives in 2015 there is going to be a sh*tstorm of reactions from computer enthusiasts around the net. You think DRM is intrusive now...wait till it completely infiltrates the hardware that you are using.

          This isn't just a Windows 8 issue.
          I don't know exactly all what you intended with your post but I have had a feeling for some time that 'they' would one day lockdown hardware to the extent that it would decide more or less what processes it will allow.

          We can see a schedule (future) of sorts that MS intends right now and it definitely doesn't favor the consumer.

          There is going to a "slave" generation in the future since our present generations don't value the old time higher ideals.
          MyCE Die Hard
          Posted on: 22 Aug 13 12:04
            I can't find an admirable element in Trusted Computing Standards. Their goal seems solely focused by Sony-Media Types for their singular benefit. I don't understand what possible benefit the hardware (or other software) groups find in TC Standards. Richard Stallman's article over on GNU ends up calling it "treacherous computing" and sometimes I think it's just Terror Computing Standards.

            Start Screen locks us into WinStore-Only Apps which locks us into Per-Use Subscriber Payments and then, a refusal to follow that allows Trusted Computing components to shut down all functions.

            Just for Sony (et al) to collect far more on patents and licensing fees than they've ever collected on tickets or disc's sold payments?!!

            Well, MasterCard Visa don't make their kajillions off of our interest payments. They make it off of that transaction fee, that "switching" fee.
            MyCE Senior Member
            Posted on: 23 Aug 13 03:00
              At least the Visa and MasterCard companies don't forcibly shut down your services as a consequence for also using PayPal. That's pretty much what companies like Sony and Microsoft will be doing real soon.
              MyCE Die Hard
              Posted on: 23 Aug 13 07:20
                TSJ, true - we'll have the triumvirate of credit score companies do that! "Can't get a job. Can't be allowed to keep a job. No access to automated fund services or plastic."

                I wonder if the BOZOS ON THIS BUS album will come true?
                Icy Mt.
                MyCE Resident
                Posted on: 23 Aug 13 18:54
                  Like any M$ OS was not a security risk.
                  MyCE Resident
                  Posted on: 26 Aug 13 09:33
                    w 8.1 will be even more crappier ri$ky.

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