Microsoft Denies China’s Windows 8 Backdoor Claims

Tom Jowitt is a leading British tech freelance and long standing contributor to TechWeek Europe

Microsoft angrily denies Chinese claims that Windows 8 has a backdoor for NSA survelliance

The Chinese government’s decision to ban the use of the Windows 8 operating system on governmental computers has triggered a curt response from Microsoft.

The Chinese authorities cited “security concerns” as the main reason for the ban. They also made claims about backdoors and other allegations of collusion with the US government as the justification for the move.

Microsoft fights back

It is widely assumed that the ban on Windows 8 had more to do with Microsoft’s decision to halt the support of Windows XP, which is still very popular in China. Microsoft has previously said that 9 out of 10 copies of the OS being used in China have been acquired illegally. Redmond of course wants users to upgrade to legal versions of Windows 8.

And now Microsoft has taken to social media to rebuff the security claims made about Windows 8. The company used its Weibo account (China’s answer to Twitter) to drive its message across to the general public.

It made five points in an image posted on its account, which roughly translate as follows:

  • Microsoft has never assisted any government in an attack of another government or clients.
  • Microsoft has never provided any government the authority to directly visit our products or services.
  • Microsoft has never provided any so-called “Backdoor” into its products or services.
  • Microsoft has never provided the data or info of our clients to the US Government or the National Security Agency.
  • Microsoft has never concealed any requests from any government for information about its clients.

China (c) Alexander Mak, Shutterstock 2014Microsoft’s responses are designed to counter all the main points made by Chinese officials about the new operating system.

Support Concerns

The ending of support for Windows XP has triggered some concern around the world, considering the fact that the venerable operating system is still widely used.

The total market share of Windows XP in China, for example, stands at around 70 percent – and experts have long warned about the dangers of running an OS that doesn’t receive regular security updates.

In the UK, the government has negotiated a £5.5 million extended support contract with Microsoft, which means it can enjoy regular updates for another year, while it is migrating an estimated 200,000 machines to a more recent OS.

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