Microsoft plans to cut off US Government’s “persistent” spying of the internet because Microsoft and its own customers share the same concerns about NSA’s aggressive surveillance of the internet. According to Microsoft’s general counsel Brad Smith, the National Security Agency (NSA) has become an advanced persistent threat in collecting private user data from Microsoft as well as from Google and Yahoo. Microsoft is going to address those issues by improving encryption, source code transparency and legal protections by this time next year, as it plans to thwart the hackers working for foreign governments and coordinating the cyber-attacks.
Recent revelations made by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden show via documents released that Microsoft-owned services have been the target of the NSA who has secretly collected private user data from the three giants, Microsoft, Google and Yahoo. The documents say that such allegations has especially alarmed Microsoft to learn the details of the program, “MUSCULAR,” that the NSA uses to obtain private user information. As a result, both Google and Yahoo also have stepped up their own new methods to prevent the NSA from spying.
The NSA has been targeting weak encryptions between data centers and servers, and Microsoft has promised to strengthen its encryption processes across the firm with its new engineering efforts to stop NSA’s snooping on private user info. Microsoft’s general counsel, Smith, gives Office 365, Outlook.com, SkyDrive, and Windows Azure as just the few examples of the services targeted by the NSA’s snooping efforts. Microsoft however will improve its key platform and productivity and communications services by encrypting customer data with “strong” 2048-bit encryption, making it safer for the user to move between data centers.
Joining the three internet giants, Microsoft, Google and Yahoo, is Facebook, who has said it will be moving to 2,048-bit encryption keys rather quickly. In spite of allegations that Skype previously went integrated into an anti-NSA surveillance program named NSA PRISM, the communications service is the prominent exception from the list of services vulnerable to the cyber-snooping attacks.
As Microsoft plans to cut off US Government’s persistent spying of the internet, the snooping and spying, and cyber-attacks by the foreign governments’ hackers has made off with substantial amounts of user information, including emails, and address books, video chats, and much more. To do what with, everyone now wonders.
In response to this critical matter, Smith wrote in the Official Microsoft Blog, “We all want to live in a world that is safe and secure, but we also want to live in a country that is protected by the Constitution. We want to ensure that important questions about government access are decided by courts rather than dictated by technological might.”
Smith said that those threats completely weakens confidence in the privacy and security of internet communications, and that alongside cyber-attacks and sophisticated malware, government spying and snooping indeed now has established a persistent advanced threat.
According to a report in November by The Washington Post, Microsoft believes the NSA is in breach of its global communications systems and thereby Microsoft is going to give its system for encrypting online traffic a complete overhaul by the end of 2014. Therefore, until Microsoft’s plan to cut off the US Government’s persistent spying of the internet, as well as Google’s and Yahoo’s, and Facebook’s unites and unfolds theirs. We all would be wise to lessen the amount of private information we key in on the net and perhaps return to the primitive way of conducting our business.
By Christina L. Ibbotson