There have been indications for years that the NSA has had influence over some aspects of the Windows operating system -- the NSA_key episode comes to mind.
Now Microsoft has confirmed that they received some help on their new Vista OS from the main U.S. SIGINT/COMINT agency.
When Microsoft introduces its long-awaited Windows Vista operating system this month, it will have an unlikely partner to thank for making its flagship product safe and secure for millions of computer users across the world: the National Security Agency.
For the first time, the giant software maker is acknowledging the help of the secretive agency, better known for eavesdropping on foreign officials and, more recently, U.S. citizens as part of the Bush administration's effort to combat terrorism. The agency said it has helped in the development of the security of Microsoft's new operating system -- the brains of a computer -- to protect it from worms, Trojan horses and other insidious computer attackers.
"Our intention is to help everyone with security," Tony W. Sager, the NSA's chief of vulnerability analysis and operations group, said yesterday. ...
Microsoft has not promoted the NSA's contributions, mentioning on its Web site the agency's role only at the end of its "Windows Vista Security Guide," which states that the "guide is not intended for home users" but for information and security specialists. ...
Microsoft also has sought the security expertise of other U.S. government and international entities, including NATO. "I cannot mention any of the other international agencies," said Donald R. Armstrong, senior program manager of Microsoft's government security program, citing the wishes of those agencies to remain anonymous.