German government: Windows 8 is a security risk
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.