More details revealed on how Microsoft's services will improve their encryption

Earlier this month, Microsoft announced plans to improve the encryption of data generated by its online services such as Outlook.com, SkyDrive and others. Those efforts were revealed after a new wave of leaked National Security Agency documents seemed to suggest that the U.S. spy organization was intercepting that data from Microsoft and other online companies like Google and Yahoo.

Today, Wired offered some more details on how Microsoft plans to thwart groups like the NSA from taking and reading their data. The company at first had the idea of sending data from their servers to "enormous network routers" that would encrypt the information before sending it out. That plan was squashed due to both cost concerns as well as the fact that the data might be too vulnerable because a single key would encrypt all of Microsoft's data.

Instead, the new plan is to use the thousands of servers inside Microsoft's data center to encrypt the information, via spare CPU resources, before it is sent to another center, or even if it is not transmitted. Mark Russinovich, one of the lead architects for Windows Azure at Microsoft, says, "You need a more distributed way of handling the problem: Every individual service — whenever it talks to another service — should encrypt that channel. Then the price for the encryption is paid for with the resources of the individual data centers."

Even with the improvements Microsoft is putting in place, that still doesn't make their data 100 percent hack proof. Indeed, the article bring up the possibly that the NSA or similar groups could plant a person inside Microsoft's data centers or turn a current employee to work for the group. Russinovich says, “An inside threat? That’s the scariest one. They could spear-phish him or blackmail him or maybe he’s just sympathetic to their cause.”

Source: Wired | Encryption Image via Shutterstock

Report a problem with article
Previous Story

EA sued for misleading investors about Battlefield 4

Next Story

Nokia UK releases strange video ad for Lumia 2520 tablet that's "set to party"

21 Comments

View more comments

Youngy said,
90% of internet traffic is routed through USA, doesn't matter where you live.

Oh?

So the 1terrabyte of data a second that goes through the AMS-IX over here, the backbone I'm connected too... It all reaches the NY-IX? Strange it only records a 150-300gb transfer usually.

It's cool and all that Microsoft trying to improve their encryption, but how about for starters you let us use a password larger then 16 characters? What a joke that is, oh and block all IP's from China, period. That new Outlook feature "recent activity" my god it's all China, China, China.

easy without a warrant from the courts they can't just ask for it and get given it they still need probable cause and then it's not for the entire network but just that individual on the warrant then all MS has to do it decrypt that particular lot of data and give it to the NSA or whoever without compromising the rest of the network by just handing over the keys

Oh ok, and with that other email company cause his keys encrypted all users, if he gave the keys over it would allow access to everyone and not just one user.

Laughable. False sense of security all the way. Good that they're tightening up against stealing data too easily, but this will do absolutely zero against government intrusion. I think most people recognize that. This is more for the general public to relax a little.

Did you say probable cause? That's so cute.

The NSA will tell you, as they have told congress, that they are exempt from the 4th. Amendment. And the people in congress that are shocked (SHOCKED!!!) that the NSA is reading your email are the same people in congress that passed laws allowing the NSA to read your email. With or without warrants, and in secret. You don't get a 'target letter' from Justice. And if you figure out they are watching you, and tell people about it, YOU'LL be charged with a federal crime. And they will tell you nothing about the charges, because it's classified. That's fair, right?

And you speak of probable cause?

But finally, after all these years, a federal judge has ruled that gathering information about everyone all the time is a violation of the constitution. It's not a guarantee that the injunction will be upheld. This is basically the same Supreme Court that decided IBM and General Motors is a person, in the context of their (the companies, but pretend they really ARE are people) throwing cash into the political process. The Court is either delusional, or motivated toward a certain political sphere. You decide.

The reality is that the people that work for the NSA or the FBI or the CIA are not a lot different than the semi-literate cop that works in (most of our) little slice of America. They make more money, it being Washington, so they wear better clothes. They TELL you they are keeping you safe by doing this. Protecting you from imaginary threats. Like they did in 2001. Remember? But they are still the same well-dressed idiots they've always been. At the end of the day, they're the same stupid bro patrolling you neighborhood for $9.25/hr., watching for people running a stop sign and abusing the crap out of his 'authority'.

You don't mind that guy reading your email? Good luck with that.

they can go right ahead and read whatever they like in my Hotmail/outlook account they want find anything other than bulk mail from hardware sites like this and forum reg emails so they can have at it for anything else I use my own ISPs email services here in NZ as for the U.S. well welcome to the land of the constantly watched as it's nolonger the land of the free

The guy they quote in this article, Mark Russinovich, wrote two awesome novels about computer security. Highly recommend them. They're called 0-Day and Trojan Horse.

I see this as a good idea but haven't the NSA already stated that they've already broken all encryption codes used on the internet either MS is going to have to come up with something new or we're all still screwed in which case aren't browsers and programs going to have to support this aswell as soon as that happens aren't the NSA going to able to get their hands on the encryption algorithm and be able to work on crackin it aswell

Torolol said,
and again, Microsoft deliberately omitted any mention of Skype, i wonder why?

The source article mentions Azure quite often, and Skype runs through that, along with a lot of their other services. (Plus the article does say "and others.")

inside employee, our encryption could be hack proof and that threat will still screw you over so here is the answer to that:

Monitor the people who you don't want monitoring you

NSA just uncovered a TREND!

Commenting is disabled on this article.