[OT] more from Cryptome on NSA, Windows firewals, mail services

Nick Mathewson nickm at freehaven.net
Wed Jan 2 21:24:34 UTC 2008

On Wed, Jan 02, 2008 at 02:47:11PM -0600, Eugene Y. Vasserman wrote:
> Thus spake Ringo Kamens on Sun, 23 Dec 2007:
> (snip)
> >    Also, we know the NSA and DoJ have engaged in
> >    this type of activity in the past such as "working" with Microsoft to
> >    secure vista and having their private key inserted into windows
> >    versions so they could decrypt things.
> I've heard of the Vista bit, but what are you referring to, as far as
> having a decryption key for Windows stuff? I know they had one in...
> What was it? Lotus Notes?

He's probably referring to the "NSAKey" key in NT 4.  For more
information, see

It's a secondary code-signing key, allegedy to be used if their
primary code signing key needed to be revoked.

If you believe Microsoft, the key was called "_NSAKEY" because it was
introduced in order to meet NSA requirements for a secondary key.
Naming things after the software or organization that requires them,
rather than after their actual purpose, is not unusual for Microsoft:
Their office XML spec is littered with stuff like the notorious

Personally, I don't believe that contemporary operating systems are so
secure that the NSA would rather have security holes custom-built for
it instead of just using the ones that are already there.

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