German infosec agency warns against Trusted Computing in Windows 8

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German infosec agency warns against Trusted Computing in Windows 8

Backdoor for NSA.

A German government infosec agency has warned that using Windows 8 in conjunction with the Trusted Computing security platform could lead to loss of control over IT solutions for users.

The advice comes from the federal Bundesamt for Sicherheit in der Informationstechnik IT security agency, which issued a German-language document stating that new Trusted Platform Module (TPM) chips built into computers working in conjunction Windows 8 put the devices under Microsoft's control, with users having no control over what can and cannot be installed on them.

According to the BSI agency, German government departments and critical infrastructure operators should be wary of the new TPM 2.0 standard with Windows 8, as the confidentiality and integrity of computers cannot be guaranteed.

There are also fears that foreign intelligence such as the United States National Security Agency (NSA) has backdoors into Trusted Computing, and will be able to use these to take control over computers and monitor them, or even for outright sabotage.

Such loss of autonomy over IT solutions would not be acceptable for German federal users.

Using alternative operating systems, and being able to install applications at users' discretion should always be an option, BSI said.

BSI did say that for users who prefer to let a vendor or manufacturer look after security, TPM in combination with Windows 8 could be a more secure solution.

Windows 7, which adheres to an older and more limited first generation Trusted Computing standard, can be safely used until 2020, the BSI said.

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