The National Security Agency’s snooping practices may be costing American companies a lot of money. German publication Zeit Online has obtained leaked documents that purportedly show that IT experts within the German government believe that Windows 8 contains back doors that the NSA could use to remotely control any computers that have it installed.
The German officials specifically worry about how Windows 8 interacts with Trusted Platform Modules (TPMs) and are concerned that once Windows machines are paired with TPM 2.0 in 2015, they won’t be able to deactivate it on their machines if they don’t want it. Once TPM 2.0 is in place, Zeit says that German researchers fear that there will be “simply no way to tell what exactly Microsoft does to their system through remote updates.” Because of this “loss of control over [the capabilities of] information technology,” the researchers conclude that “the security-oriented principles of ‘confidentiality’ and ‘integrity’ are no longer achievable” in machines that have TPM 2.0 installed.
Interestingly, the researchers say that they’ll still be able to use Windows 7 securely “until 2020,” so it seems the German government may be using the legacy version of Microsoft’s platform for years to come if it takes up its IT experts’ recommendations.