Microsoft is reportedly taking steps to increase the amount of encryption in its Internet services, thanks to new suspicions that the National Security Agency is using a program called MUSCULAR to intercept its traffic. The program was first reported back in October as part of the continuing leaks of NSA documents provided by former contractor Edward Snowden.
The MUSCULAR leak in October said that the NSA was using the program to look into traffic and data from both Google and Yahoo, but today's report from the Washington Post said that two slides from the leaked files showed references to Microsoft’s Hotmail and Windows Live Messenger, which has now been replaced by Skype. The story, using unnamed sources, claims that Microsoft has no direct proof that the NSA has been spying on their Internet activities. However, company executives are now reportedly making efforts this week to figure out what they can do to improve their security and how quickly they can move to implement these new programs.
When asked for comment on the references to Microsoft services in the leaked NSA files, the company's general counsel Brad Smith told the Post, "These allegations are very disturbing. If they are true these actions amount to hacking and seizure of private data and in our view are a breach of the protection guaranteed by the Fourth Amendment to the Constitution."