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How NSA access was built into Windows


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Posted

NSA Built Back Door In All Windows Software by 1999

 

Government Built Spy-Access Into Most Popular Consumer Program Before 9/11

 

In researching the stunning pervasiveness of spying by the government (it

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zip link is dead, well, only the 'special' are permitted to view... http://www.cryptonym.com/ Would sure love to change my key and become the NSA of my friends... Bravo MS!

 

Any reports on how OSX or any versions of BSD or linux are bugged? I can only presume Apple and Ubuntu are also targets.

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Posted

It was already widely known back then that there was a NSA key in Windows 98.

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Posted

Not sure if serious  :o

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Look.  I don't like the secrecy around the NSA and GCHQ's processes either but this story is sensationalist claptrap.  This story reads as if the NSA and some other organisation has the ability to remotely access Windows PCs!

 

Yes, there are alternative keys for loading cryptographic modules into Windows but they are not backdoors.  You still need to install them with administrative privileges.  At the point this happens, you've already given access to your computer away no matter how the software persists.  There are plenty of places in Windows that you could install something to snoop on or modify the experience for users: the driver system being the most obvious to me.  If you're worried about HTTPS snooping in particular then you should realise that tools like Fiddler 2 can do this without magic crypto modules.

 

As for somehow turning this "backdoor" around, you should note that if you're in a position to change the NSAKEY or the third key then you're also in a position to change the first key.  At this point you could re-sign the typical cryptographic modules as well as foreign code with your own private key.  You gain nothing from the existence of the NSAKEY or the third.

 

The fact that the keys are separate tells me that Microsoft were unwilling to let the NSA have access to their private key.

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Posted

Despite the recent revelations I just don't buy that this was ever the case, with alll the governments, with all the users, and especially with all the people that hate windows, if any of them found that in the software they would be screamiing it fromt heir lungs and posting the proof everywhere.  Microsoft also would have had far too much to lose (as they were basically the only OS provider, no one else was getting roped in with them unlike the current matter) not to mention there was and still is no lehal basis for such a move and not withstanding that such a backdoor would likely break laws in some of the countries MS Windows is sold in.

 

Yes, that is different to now because the target of the current issue is around their carriage services - not the product - just about all our countries have laws surrounding the lawful use of carriage services (no I am not defending the invasion of our privacy but rather just because that is happening doesn't mean this happened).

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Oh good gawd, this isn't what you think it is...... btw.. if you have RSA encryption, you know this was developed by the NSA right?..... lets start a trapdoor thing about that also!!!!! oh wait we already have....

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If the NSA was getting into your machine since '98 I'm pretty sure someone would of picked it up on the many years of constant wiresharking.

 

/thread

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You guys do know if they where to put a hidden key.... they wouldn't call it NSAKEY! you know NSA does not stand for national security agency...... it was at the time meaning Name Space Assembly Key... had a completely different purpose then the tin foil hatters want you to think.... but lets just ignore all the development documentation on windows back in the 90's and name it some big conspiracy

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Posted

Well that was a whole bunch of misunderstandings, conspiracy theories and conjecture wrapped around something that was already widely know and moreover publicly stated.

 

Still, makes for a nice headline...

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Posted

If the NSA was getting into your machine since '98 I'm pretty sure someone would of picked it up on the many years of constant wiresharking.

 

/thread

Don't forget process monitor and network firewalls, And what about all those people on slow wan links wouldn't they notice it ?

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Posted

I guess I'm immune to this since I'm running Windows for Workgroups.

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Posted

What was the name of that funny registry key from long ago.... was it nsakey?

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Posted

That explains why my UFO photos disappeared ! :ninja:

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oh noes, zey know everaything... picks up his tin foil hat.... lolz

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Posted

Of course there is a NSA key in Windows. They'd be crazy not to put one in it.

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Don't forget process monitor and network firewalls, And what about all those people on slow wan links wouldn't they notice it ?

You can actually hide stuff from process monitor. Good malware writers know this.

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Any articles from last decade? Or, better yet, this decade?

 

Forget about encryption, if they wanted a real backdoor to any system and it was built from the lab into all RTM and retail copies that left MS, no one except those developers would ever know it was there. It would lay dormant until activated over the net or locally by an NSA agent. If it's ever needed it's activated and then loses much of it's stealth, but unless you know what you're looking for and how to look for it, it would be almost impossible to detect because it would use the OS's internal mechanisms legitimately to disguise it's activity. It wouldn't be "malware", or a rootkit, it would be a kernel level legitimate function of the system, designed to work with the system as any other legitimate mechanism does. It might even be wrapped by a legitimate and benign piece of the standard system.

 

It would probably also communicate through a protocol that is hidden intentionally on the network, by other additions by the NSA into software, such as routers. You'd probably have to write special code to even have a chance of finding it, and you'd have to know what you're looking for to write the code. Chicken and the egg. Then you'd still have to get the NSA to activate the backdoor on a system you're testing. By the time even someone educated and paranoid (or curious) enough found what they were looking for, it'd be too late, at least for them.

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Posted

Any articles from last decade? Or, better yet, this decade?

 

Forget about encryption, if they wanted a real backdoor to any system and it was built from the lab into all RTM and retail copies that left MS, no one except those developers would ever know it was there. It would lay dormant until activated over the net or locally by an NSA agent. If it's ever needed it's activated and then loses much of it's stealth, but unless you know what you're looking for and how to look for it, it would be almost impossible to detect because it would use the OS's internal mechanisms legitimately to disguise it's activity. It wouldn't be "malware", or a rootkit, it would be a kernel level legitimate function of the system, designed to work with the system as any other legitimate mechanism does. It might even be wrapped by a legitimate and benign piece of the standard system.

 

It would probably also communicate through a protocol that is hidden intentionally on the network, by other additions by the NSA into software, such as routers. You'd probably have to write special code to even have a chance of finding it, and you'd have to know what you're looking for to write the code. Chicken and the egg. Then you'd still have to get the NSA to activate the backdoor on a system you're testing. By the time even someone educated and paranoid (or curious) enough found what they were looking for, it'd be too late, at least for them.

Hows the tin foil hat?

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Posted

Hows the tin foil hat?

 

yeah it's not like the NSA has been caught accessing information from all major cloud providers... oh wait

 

It's pretty obvious that Windows has had a back door for use by government organisations, i wouldn't be surprised if MacOSX had it too. Oh course they are not going to be using it all the time, however i can imagine some kind of remote execution ability. Linux and Open source in general i would be more surprised about as it would be a lot easier to discover this through open source.

 

However it's worth taking stock, we know that government agencies have had access to cloud services, a few years ago it was proven that BlackBerry has done the same for it's messaging systems

 

http://www.guardian.co.uk/technology/2010/nov/17/india-blackberry-monitored-emails

 

It's the way of the world, it would be nice if governments were a little more transparent and i hope people continue to fight for freedoms of information, but this kind of stuff has been going on for centuries with governments intercepting, phone calls, letters, telegrams etc.. The only difference is that with each passing year it's getting easier and easier to collect more and more information.

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Posted

yeah it's not like the NSA has been caught accessing information from all major cloud providers... oh wait

 

It's pretty obvious that Windows has had a back door for use by government organisations, i wouldn't be surprised if MacOSX had it too. Oh course they are not going to be using it all the time, however i can imagine some kind of remote execution ability. Linux and Open source in general i would be more surprised about as it would be a lot easier to discover this through open source.

 

However it's worth taking stock, we know that government agencies have had access to cloud services, a few years ago it was proven that BlackBerry has done the same for it's messaging systems

 

http://www.guardian.co.uk/technology/2010/nov/17/india-blackberry-monitored-emails

 

It's the way of the world, it would be nice if governments were a little more transparent and i hope people continue to fight for freedoms of information, but this kind of stuff has been going on for centuries with governments intercepting, phone calls, letters, telegrams etc.. The only difference is that with each passing year it's getting easier and easier to collect more and more information.

To protect National Security? Do you condone events like Boston or a possible terrorist threat on the Olympics? 

 

The people which create these programs are normal people, they're doing it to protect national security not to see what porn people are watching. If there was a backdoor to any software system, it would of been found by now. You'd be able to spot it a mile off. Another point is, who's computer here actually has a public IP address? If not, you're sitting behind a NAT which will not let any un-prompted connections incoming unless the client initialized it. So a backdoor wouldn't even work in todays Internet.

 

So once again, hows the tinfoil hat?

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Do you condone events like Boston

Oh dear.  You just threw your entire argument out of the window with that one ridiculous yet (hopefully) rhetorical question.

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Posted

Oh dear.  You just threw your entire argument out of the window with that one ridiculous yet (hopefully) rhetorical question.

Condoning a system which supports national security is indirectly related to events like this. Stop being so up-tight.

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Posted

Stop being so up-tight.

Accusations of me being "up-tight" do not help your argument.

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Posted

A possible terrorist threat on the Olympics?

 

Oh my gosh, you're so paranoid. How's the tin foil flack jacket? (That game can be played both ways. Don't dismiss what I said as if I'm paranoid. I was just stating what is possible, as you just did).

 

If there was a backdoor to any software system, it would of been found by now. You'd be able to spot it a mile off. Another point is, who's computer here actually has a public IP address? If not, you're sitting behind a NAT which will not let any un-prompted connections incoming unless the client initialized it. So a backdoor wouldn't even work in todays Internet.

 

So once again, hows the tinfoil hat?

 

You don't know what you're talking about, by the way.

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