US Department of Defense Approves of Windows 10
Is Windows 10 secure? A lot of naysayers say it isn’t because it constantly phones home sending back unspecified user data to Microsoft. At least the US Department of Defense seems to think so. This should finally dispel all those rumors that Windows 10 is spyware on steroids. Of course, the Defense Department won’t tolerate such a thing. Most likely they’d have the version without ET inside the operating system.
“This implies that what they (DoD) were using was insecure and needed to be replaced immediately or as quickly as the government can work…The DoD, if it were a company, would be one of the largest enterprises spread out all over the world and wouldn’t deploy Windows 10 if it weren’t stable, secure, or pose a training challenge.”
–Patrick Moorhead, Moor Insights and Strategy, interview with The Verge
The previous quote refers to the fact that as many as 4 million US DOD computers still use Windows XP or Windows 7. Not certain if the Navy will still stay with XP after this announcement. That’s a lot of machines if the DOD were a company. That’s big money for Microsoft, and they can surely devote some personnel to take out the ‘bugs’. Well, here it’s implied that the Department of Defense trusts Windows 10 enough to jump into the lake and the rest of us should too.
This is in light of the many hacking incidents the US government has experienced where tons of important information had been taken by rogue states perhaps due to the insecure nature of previous Windows versions. The whole project will be done within the span of a year. With only a few months remaining on Microsoft’s free Windows 10 upgrade, is trust the main motivator for the upgrade? Will Microsoft extend the free offer? This author has the feeling that Redmond will, for at least a month so it will fulfill its prediction of 1 billion machines with Windows 10. In any case, the program began last November 2015 and would last until February 2017, so the government has a lot of time to upgrade to the current version everyone else is getting unless Microsoft did provide them with a more secure version. Aside from the big license deal, Microsoft could also provide the government with thousands of Surface devices thus increasing Microsoft’s hardware portfolio.
“I think it’s the best security proof point Microsoft could have…This at a minimum says Windows 10 as a base is really, really secure,”
— Patrick Moorhead
So if the government thinks Windows 10 is secure enough to be Chinese/North-Korean/Iranian-hacker-proof, how about everyone else? Convincing the DoD to upgrade should give Microsoft a few more trust points which would further its Windows 10 goals. Or not. Thanks to Edward Snowden and the NSA, many no longer trust the government. This is where the opposition comes in. Windows 10 might actually make it easier for the government to snoop into other people’s machines. Windows 10 is already allegedly sending out information to Microsoft, why not the government?
But to Microsoft’s credit, it’s still fighting the government over the issue of data sovereignty, whether or not it should open the contents of a suspect’s Hotmail account stored on a server in Ireland which is almost the same thing Apple’s going through right now. So Microsoft may not be in cahoots with the Feds in gathering data.
As for security, if the government is referring to the extended support in terms of security patches that Microsoft will continually provide, then it’s a logical move. Instead of having to continuously maintain Windows XP on aging hardware, the government can move forward and purchase new devices which are getting more and more affordable, except maybe for those who are getting Surface units. One problem would probably be training millions of users in using Windows 10’s new interface, which they should if they’re worried about security and efficiency.
Doubts regarding Windows 10’s ‘outgoing’ security aside, what’s important here is Windows 10’s incoming security if it is indeed more formidable against incoming attacks. This is the Department of Defense we are talking about. Everyone is out to get the US nowadays. ISIS, China, North Korea, Iran, Russia. The country can’t afford to divulge any more secrets to its geopolitical opponents. Let’s hope that Windows 10 is as secure as Microsoft says it is and that everyone in the DoD knows how to turn on Bitlocker encryption.