WS>>Microsoft, cDc and FBI Cut a Deal:
carl william spitzer iv
cwsiv_2nd at JUNO.COM
Tue Dec 18 15:09:47 MST 2001
FBI Surveillance Software to be Part of Windows XP Updates
By John Robbington
The controversy, rumours and speculation surrounding
the FBI's Magic Lantern tool has attracted ridicule from the
Not so any more. Now both the infamous hacker group
the Cult of the Dead Cow (cDc) and Microsoft have offered a
helping hand to the Feds and are preparing to include the
surveillance software in all future editions and updates of
the new Microsoft Windows XP operating system.
"This Magic Langern could easily become a part of
Windows XP Dynamic Updates, or even become a standard part
of the operating system." Microsoft spokesperson Bob Null
said. "We are really looking forward to experimenting this
on a large scale. Our direct Marketing department was
jumping out of their pants when they heard we would be doing
this." As well they should. - The dream of both direct
marketers and FBI coming both true at the same time.
Also to be included in the future Microsoft Windows XP
(R) are Microsoft's trademark profiling software meant for
tracking individual users:
See: Microsoft licenses profiling software for digital
Microsoft's New Technology enables the FBI to profile
individuals through their viewing habits and so provide FBI
with useful information about potential terrorists and other
Both Microsoft and FBI point out that individual pro-
files are not given a name and that the information is
stored on the FBI government computers only and not on
public computers. But this holds little sway with privacy
Predictive, a Microsoft partner in this venture, has
also filed a patent for a biometric system which identifies
different individuals within the same household.
The system works on recognising people's keystroke,
mouse or remote-control usage patterns. It says that it
generates random, perfect IDs each time, which have the
effect of identifying all the household's PC users, even if
they didn't write anything that would otherwise indicate to
FBI and Microsoft who is using the computer.
Andy Beers, senior product manager for Microsoft said
of the deal:
"Predictive Networks' solutions will provide
customers of Microsoft with state-of-the-art
software to understand suspected terrorists'
characteristics and interests. The result will be
the technology and expertise needed to make
thought police operation a seamless reality for
the consumer, while enabling incrementally crimi-
nalizing various aspects of file swapping terror-
ist hunts within the United States and abroad."
[ meaning more targetted marketing and spam - rf]
Evidently still grizzled about the fact that their
security is too bad to afford any real protection, Microsoft
has withheld the publishing of a notorious security track
record, that of Microsoft being the most often penetrated OS
of the Millennium.
Reid Fleming, a cDc member and now a secret Microsoft
"Never before has the US faced a more troublesome
enemy. To meet this growing challenge, the FBI
has announced an ongoing effort to create and
deploy best-of-breed electronic surveillance
"While we applaud the innovation and drive of the
federal law enforcement agency, those of us who are US
citizens would be remiss if we did not offer our expertise
in this area."
A tongue in cheek announcement from the group claims
that cDc "has more targeted experience than anyone else in
And they're right. Their Back Orifice would do the
Magic Lantern job beautifully. Although the hackers are
quite confident that the Microsoft and FBI's Engineering
Research Facility is more than capable, cDc intends to re-
architect Back Orifice from the ground up.
"There will be absolutely no shared code between the
two projects, in order to skirt detection by commercial
antivirus packages. The code will remain totally secret.
The software will never surface publicly. And it will be
far more stealthy than anything we have ever released,
demonstrated or publicly discussed," the group said.
Indeed, the central design principle of Magic Lantern
and this new breed of Back Orifice could easily be inter-
preted as "an artificial witness which is capable of inter-
cepting any and all relevant activity during, after and even
leading up to the commission of a computer crime", it added.
The cDc concluded that the project would deliver "the
ultimate intelligence gathering tool to the govenrment. And
we intend to construct it, at no cost, exclusively for the
use of Microsoft and the federal government," said Fleming.
"We are confident that Microsoft and the government
will limit the use of this technology only to targets relev-
ant to legitimate investigations," he added, further under-
scoring the cult's faith in federal law enforcement organi-
"The FBI has a long history of following Title 18 to
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