The furor over the role of NSA and US government in wiretapping users’ data has not been ended. A fresh revelation made by Bloomberg claims that when Microsoft stumbles over a bug in any of its software, it shares that information with NSA and other intelligence agencies, before patching the bug.
The idea behind this chain of actions is essential to allow security agencies to exploit the bug and make active use of it before users can get a patch. This has been alleged in the past too and the fresh allegation leveled by the article in Bloomberg tends to reaffirm it.
According to that report, “Microsoft Corp. (MSFT), the world’s largest software company, provides intelligence agencies with information about bugs in its popular software before it publicly releases a fix, according to two people familiar with the process. That information can be used to protect government computers and to access the computers of terrorists or military foes.”
The problem, as always, is that the security agencies do not like specifics. They usually go after blanket wiretapping and aggregation of data. So it shouldn’t be a surprise if in the future, we are told that NSA uses these bugs to target thousands of computers.
The report has also implicated the major telecom companies in the U.S., alleging that these companies have given intelligence agencies access to their offshore offices and facilities. The access enables security agencies to keep tabs on the hundreds of millions of customers of these telecom companies including AT&T, Sprint, Verizon, CenturyLink and Level3.