Tag Archive: microsoft

Who’s to blame for ‘catastrophic’ Heartbleed Bug?

By , Network World
April 10, 2014 12:22 PM ET

Network World – The Heartbleed Bug, basically a flaw in OpenSSL that would let savvy attackers eavesdrop on Web, e-mail and some VPN communications that use OpenSSL, has sent companies scurrying to patch servers and change digital encryption certificates and users to change their passwords. But who’s to blame for this flaw in the open-source protocol that some say also could impact routers and even mobile devices as well?

A German software engineer named Robin Seggelmann of Munster, Germany has reportedly accepted responsibility for inserting what experts are calling a mistake of catastrophic proportions into the open-source protocol OpenSSL used by millions of websites and servers, leaving them open to stealing data and passwords that many think has already been exploited by cyber-criminals and government intelligence agencies.

“Half a million websites are vulnerable, including my own,” wrote security expert Bruce Schneier in his blog, pointing to a tool to test for the Heartbleed Bug vulnerability. He described Heartbleed as a “catastrophic bug” in OpenSSL because it “allows anyone on the Internet to read the memory of the systems protected by the vulnerable versions of the OpenSSL software.” It compromises secret keys used to identify service providers and encrypt traffic, he pointed out. “This means anything in memory—SSL private keys, user keys, anything—is vulnerable.”

+More on Network World: The Heartbleed Bug: How to keep your info safe | The worst data breaches of 2014…so far (Q1)+

The Heartbleed Bug was discovered by security analysts from Google and Codenomicon and disclosed by the OpenSSL open-source group on April 7 as an OpenSSL Advisory and a fix prepared by OpenSSL open-source contributors Adam Langley and Bodo Miller. Across the world, companies and vendors have been scrambling to either patch their systems or assure users that their services weren’t using OpenSSL.

Microsoft for example, issued an advisory that “Microsoft Azure Web Sites, Microsoft Azure Pack Web Sites and Microsoft Azure Web Roles do not use OpenSSL to terminate SSL connections. Windows comes with its own encryption component called Secure Channel (a.k.a. SChannel), which is not susceptible to the Heartbleed vulnerability.”

But Microsoft added, “However, if you are using Microsoft Azure’s IaaS to host linux images, then you should make sure that your OpenSSL implementation is not vulnerable.”

Twitter also said its services weren’t impacted by Heartbleed. However, websites including Yahoo Mail, Yahoo Messenger and others were impacted. As news stories about the Heartbleed Bug filled the news, there was widespread concern and bewilderment in the general public, and it wasn’t uncommon to hear the problem described by people as a computer virus, rather than a software flaw.


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By Chris StrohmNov 15, 2013 10:42 AM CT

Google Inc., Facebook Inc. and Yahoo! Inc. are fighting back against the National Security Agency by using harder-to-crack code to shield their networks and online customer data from unauthorized U.S. spying.

The companies, burned by disclosures they’ve cooperated with U.S. surveillance programs, are protecting user e-mail and social-media posts with strengthened encryption that the U.S. government says won’t be easily broken until 2030.
Enlarge image Silicon Valley Nerds Seek Revenge on NSA Spies With Super Coding

The National Security Agency headquarters in Fort Meade, Maryland. Photographer: NSA via Getty Images

The NSA has tapped fiber-optic cables abroad in order to siphon off data from Google and Yahoo, circumvented or cracked encryption, and covertly introduced weaknesses and back doors into digital coding, according to reports in the Washington Post, the New York Times and the U.K.’s Guardian newspaper based on documents leaked by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden. Photographer: Krisztian Bocsi/Bloomberg

While the NSA may find ways around the barriers, the companies say they have to assure users their online connections are secure and data can’t be grabbed when transmitted over fiber-optic networks or digitally stored.

Microsoft Corp. is convinced it must “invest in protecting customers’ information from a wide range of threats, which if the allegations are true, include governments,” Matt Thomlinson, general manager of trustworthy computing, said in an e-mail. He didn’t provide details.

Internet companies including Google, Yahoo, Facebook, Microsoft and Apple Inc. are trying to distance themselves from news reports that they gave the agency data on electronic communications of Americans and foreigners or have lax security.

While the companies are trying to prevent the NSA from gaining unauthorized access to their data, they say they comply with legal court orders compelling them to provide the government information.

The NSA has tapped fiber-optic cables abroad in order to siphon off data from Google and Yahoo, circumvented or cracked encryption, and covertly introduced weaknesses and back doors into coding, according to reports in the Washington Post, the New York Times and the U.K.’s Guardian newspaper based on documents leaked by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden.

Game On

Companies are fighting back primarily by using increasingly complex encryption, which scrambles data using a mathematical formula that can be decoded only with a special digital key. The idea is to protect sensitive information like e-mails, Internet searches and digital calls.

Google has accelerated efforts to encrypt information flowing between its data centers, doubled the length of its digital keys and implemented measures to detect fraudulent certificates for verifying the authenticity of websites, according to a statement from the Mountain View, California-based company.

NSA spy programs have “the great potential for doing serious damage to the competitiveness” of U.S. companies, Richard Salgado, Google’s director of law enforcement and information security, told a Senate subcommittee Nov. 13.

“It’s very important that the users of our services understand that we are stewards of their data, we hold it responsibly, we treat it with respect,” Salgado said. “We’ve already seen impacts on the businesses.”

Government Threat

Google, Yahoo and Facebook generated $44.4 billion in advertising revenue so far in 2013 in part by mining users’ private data, according to Bloomberg Industries.

An Aug. 14 analysis by Forrester Research Inc. analyst James Staten found the U.S. cloud computing industry could lose as much as $180 billion by 2016 due to the spying disclosures.

Yahoo will make encrypted connections standard by January for all its Mail users with 2048-bit digital keys, Sarah Meron, a spokeswoman for the Sunnyvale, California-based company, said in an e-mail.

Facebook, in addition to moving toward 2048-bit encryption keys, is accelerating a tactic known as “perfect forward secrecy” that prevents the NSA from deciphering the communications of users if it obtains a security code, Jodi Seth, a company spokeswoman, said in an e-mail.

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Battle brews as tech companies attempt to fend off NSA hacking

Google, Facebook, Yahoo, and others are all improving their data encryption to discourage the NSA from accessing user information.

November 15, 2013 8:20 AM PST

The NSA allegedly gathered millions of records from Google and Yahoo data centers around the world, but soon, the agency might have a much harder time trying to collect this type of data.

Google, Yahoo, Microsoft, Apple, and other prominent technology companies are investing heavily in stronger, 2048-bit encryption. Due to computing power constraints, it’s expected to be more than a decade before this type of encryption can be easily overcome.

Google, one of the leaders in the effort, announced in May that it would switch over to 2,048-bit encryption keys by the end of 2013. Yahoo recently confirmed to Bloomberg, which spoke with several tech companies that are investing in new encryption, that it will make 2048-bit encryption standard by January 2014 for all its Mail users. Facebook also plans to move to 2048-bit encryption, a spokeswoman told Bloomberg, and will roll out “perfect forward secrecy,” a feature that prevents snoopers from accessing user data even if they can access the company’s security codes.


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On Monday, Microsoft said it will offer a free 16-week IT course for soldiers transitioning out of the military into civilian life—with a guaranteed job at the end of it.The Microsoft Software & Systems Academy will be based on the Microsoft IT Academy, offering the training necessary to take the next step and pursue training to become a developer, applications engineer or IT project manager. At the end of the course, Microsoft said, participants will be hired as software testers by either Microsoft or Launch Consulting, the technology consulting firm administering the program. As the program expands, those additional soldiers will be guaranteed at least a job interview.Microsoft launched a pilot implementation of the Academy at the Joint Base Lewis-McCord (JBLM) in Washington, where about 8,000 service members are expected to move out of the military into civilian life as the U.S. winds down conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan. The Vow to Hire Heroes Act, sponsored by Sen. Patty Murray (D-Wash.), allows those soldiers to begin the transition process while they’re actually employed by the military.

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• Secret files show scale of Silicon Valley co-operation on Prism
• Outlook.com encryption unlocked even before official launch
• Skype worked to enable Prism collection of video calls
• Company says it is legally compelled to comply



Skype logo

Skype worked with intelligence agencies last year to allow Prism to collect video and audio conversations. Photograph: Patrick Sinkel/AP


Microsoft has collaborated closely with US intelligence services to allow users’ communications to be intercepted, including helping the National Security Agency to circumvent the company’s own encryption, according to top-secret documents obtained by the Guardian.

The files provided by Edward Snowden illustrate the scale of co-operation between Silicon Valley and the intelligence agencies over the last three years. They also shed new light on the workings of the top-secret Prism program, which was disclosed by the Guardian and the Washington Post last month.

The documents show that:

• Microsoft helped the NSA to circumvent its encryption to address concerns that the agency would be unable to intercept web chats on the new Outlook.com portal;

• The agency already had pre-encryption stage access to email on Outlook.com, including Hotmail;

• The company worked with the FBI this year to allow the NSA easier access via Prism to its cloud storage service SkyDrive, which now has more than 250 million users worldwide;

• Microsoft also worked with the FBI’s Data Intercept Unit to “understand” potential issues with a feature in Outlook.com that allows users to create email aliases;

• In July last year, nine months after Microsoft bought Skype, the NSA boasted that a new capability had tripled the amount of Skype video calls being collected through Prism;

• Material collected through Prism is routinely shared with the FBI and CIA, with one NSA document describing the program as a “team sport”.

The latest NSA revelations further expose the tensions between Silicon Valley and the Obama administration. All the major tech firms are lobbying the government to allow them to disclose more fully the extent and nature of their co-operation with the NSA to meet their customers’ privacy concerns. Privately, tech executives are at pains to distance themselves from claims of collaboration and teamwork given by the NSA documents, and insist the process is driven by legal compulsion.

In a statement, Microsoft said: “When we upgrade or update products we aren’t absolved from the need to comply with existing or future lawful demands.” The company reiterated its argument that it provides customer data “only in response to government demands and we only ever comply with orders for requests about specific accounts or identifiers”.

In June, the Guardian revealed that the NSA claimed to have “direct access” through the Prism program to the systems of many major internet companies, including Microsoft, Skype, Apple, Google, Facebook and Yahoo.

Blanket orders from the secret surveillance court allow these communications to be collected without an individual warrant if the NSA operative has a 51% belief that the target is not a US citizen and is not on US soil at the time. Targeting US citizens does require an individual warrant, but the NSA is able to collect Americans’ communications without a warrant if the target is a foreign national located overseas.

Since Prism‘s existence became public, Microsoft and the other companies listed on the NSA documents as providers have denied all knowledge of the program and insisted that the intelligence agencies do not have back doors into their systems.

Microsoft’s latest marketing campaign, launched in April, emphasizes its commitment to privacy with the slogan: “Your privacy is our priority.”

Similarly, Skype’s privacy policy states: “Skype is committed to respecting your privacy and the confidentiality of your personal data, traffic data and communications content.”

But internal NSA newsletters, marked top secret, suggest the co-operation between the intelligence community and the companies is deep and ongoing.

The latest documents come from the NSA‘s Special Source Operations (SSO) division, described by Snowden as the “crown jewel” of the agency. It is responsible for all programs aimed at US communications systems through corporate partnerships such as Prism.

The files show that the NSA became concerned about the interception of encrypted chats on Microsoft’s Outlook.com portal from the moment the company began testing the service in July last year.

Within five months, the documents explain, Microsoft and the FBI had come up with a solution that allowed the NSA to circumvent encryption on Outlook.com chats

A newsletter entry dated 26 December 2012 states: “MS [Microsoft], working with the FBI, developed a surveillance capability to deal” with the issue. “These solutions were successfully tested and went live 12 Dec 2012.”

Two months later, in February this year, Microsoft officially launched the Outlook.com portal.

Another newsletter entry stated that NSA already had pre-encryption access to Outlook email. “For Prism collection against Hotmail, Live, and Outlook.com emails will be unaffected because Prism collects this data prior to encryption.”


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by KING 5 News

Posted on March 27, 2013 at 8:45 AM

Updated today at 5:46 PM

Whidbey Island landslide – before and after

Credit: WA Dept. of Natural Resources

Landslides threatening homes

View larger map


Despair doesn’t come close to the way Whidbey Island resident Bret Holmes is feeling as he looks back over the past 24 hours.

“It felt like an earthquake and shook the house,” he said.

Residents were evacuated early Wednesday after massive landslides damaged one home and threatened or isolated two dozen more in Coupeville.  The initial slide happened around 4:15 a.m. along Driftwood Way in the Ledgewood Beach Community, also affecting homes on Fircrest Avenue. More landslides were reported throughout the day.

Holmes spent the day scrambling to pack his things and get out of the house that his parents once owned and that’s on the brink of being lost forever. Making matters worse, word from his insurance company is that if the house goes, he isn’t covered.

“It makes me sick to my stomach having to get up and go through this,” said Holmes.

Neighbors said it sounded like a sonic boom – a blast that obliterated about 600 feet of hillside in the middle of the night, taking with it a home where an 81-year-old cancer patient felt the ground starting to give way. He moved to his truck shortly before the earth disappeared below him.

Authorities have completed evacuations of 34 homes that were damaged, isolated or threatened by the mudslide. Emergency workers were trying to access parts of the damaged areas via property owned by Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer.

Central Whidbey Fire and Rescue Chief Ed Hartin says 11 other people from 16 homes along a road close to the water were evacuated by boat because the road was blocked by the landslide. Hartin says another 20 to 25 people were evacuated from along a road higher up the hill that is being undermined by the slide.

It will likely be days, if not weeks, before the evacuated residents are allowed to return. Some may never be able to return.

KING 5’s Eric Wilkinson contributed to this report.


See Additional Photos and  Watch Video Here

Microsoft fined $733 million for breaking browser pactCredit: Getty Images

by TOBY STERLING / Associated Press

Posted on March 6, 2013 at 6:41 AM

Updated yesterday at 9:54 AM

AMSTERDAM  — The European Union has fined Microsoft (euro) 561 million ($733 million) for breaking a pledge to offer personal computer users a choice of Internet browsers when they install the company’s flagship Windows operating system.

The penalty imposed by the EU’s executive arm, the Commission, is a first for Brussels: no company has ever failed to keep its end of a bargain with EU authorities before.

In 2009, Microsoft Corp. struck a broad settlement with the Commission to resolve disputes over Microsoft’s abuse of the dominance of Windows, which had spanned more than a decade.

The company agreed to pay (euro) 860 million and promised to give Windows users the option of choosing another browser rather than having Microsoft’s Internet Explorer automatically installed on their machines.

Which Internet browser do you use? Join the Facebook discussion

But Microsoft failed to stick to the deal for some 15 million installations of Windows 7 in Europe from May 2011 until July 2012. The company admitted the failure last year, adding that it was an oversight.

The Commission’s top regulator, Joaquin Almunia, said at a press conference in Brussels, Belgium, Wednesday that the fine reflected the size of the violation and the length of time it went on. It was also intended to make an example of Microsoft and deter other companies from doing same thing.

Read Full Article Here

Mladen Antonov/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

Jon Leibowitz, the F.T.C. chairman, said Google’s search engine actions were “not undertaken without legitimate justification.”



By allowing Google to continue to present search results that highlight its own services, the F.T.C. decision could enable Google to further strengthen its already dominant position on the Internet.

It also enables Google to avoid a costly and lengthy legal war of attrition like the antitrust battle that Microsoft waged in the 1990s. That fight took an enormous toll on Microsoft and opened the door for competitors like Google to become the technology sector’s new leaders. Now, a weakened Microsoft was among those most vocal in complaining that Google was unfairly abusing a monopolistic position to thwart its rivals.

Google, which attracts 70 percent of all search queries in the United States, has used its search business, which generates billions of dollars in profit annually from advertising, to expand into businesses that include maps, restaurant reviews and travel bookings. Competitors worry that the F.T.C.’s decision will allow Google to continue to make inroads at their expense.

The decision sets up a potential conflict with European officials, who are working with Google to resolve similar concerns about the way the company operates its search engine in Europe, where it is even more dominant than in the United States.

Read Full Article Here

Crossroads News : Changes In The World Around Us And Our Place In It

IT :  Hacking  / Security

GoDaddy declares outage was not caused by hack

GoDaddy’s investigation into its outage has found that a hacker claiming an affiliation with Anonymous was lying about bringing down the site yesterday

By , Network World

GoDaddy’s internal investigation into the outage suffered by its website and those of 52 million of its customers yesterday found that it was not the result of an external hacker, negating claims by a supposed Anonymous affiliate who took responsibility shortly after the sites went offline.

MORE: The Anonymous hit list

SLIDESHOW: World’s geekiest license plates

GoDaddy’s public relations department issued an email statement Tuesday clarifying that yesterday’s outage, which lasted from 1 to 7 p.m. EDT, “was due to a series of internal network events that corrupted router data tables.

“The service outage was not caused by external influences. It was not a ‘hack’ and it was not a denial of service attack (DDoS),” the email reads.

GoDaddy also made clear that, while many customers’ websites were not accessible during the outage, none of their personal data were at risk.

The announcement follows a confusing set of events following the outage. Shortly after GoDaddy went offline, a supposed hacker using the Twitter account @AnonymousOwn3r claimed responsibility for knocking GoDaddy’s Domain Name Servers (DNS) offline. The hacker, the self-proclaimed “security leader for Anonymous,” said the attack was launched to test GoDaddy’s cybersecurity, and “for more reasons that I cannot talk [about] now.” GoDaddy’s previous support for the controversial Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) was also considered a motivation for the attack.

However, more centrally controlled Anonymous Twitter accounts quickly dissociated themselves with @AnonymousOwn3r. Speaking for the collective itself, the @GroupAnon Twitter account declared repeatedly that it was not responsible, and mocked the Twitter user’s claims as the group’s “security leader.”

“Anonymous is like a flock of birds, there is no one leader,” the Anonymous Twitter account declared. “And like flocks of birds merge and divide, so does Anonymous.”

Similarly, the @AnonyOps Twitter account questioned yesterday whether the person behind the @AnonymousOwn3r Twitter account was simply trying to capitalize on an internal GoDaddy issue.

Colin Neagle covers emerging technologies, privacy and enterprise mobility for Network World. Follow him on Twitter @ntwrkwrldneagle and keep up with the MicrosoftCisco and Open Source community blogs. Colin’s email address is cneagle@nww.com.


By Dina Bass

Stuart Isett/Bloomberg
A consumer tries out a laptop at the Microsoft Store at University Village in Seattle. Microsoft plans to release a new, free Web-based e-mail portal under its Outlook brand.

Microsoft Corp. (MSFT), the world’s biggest software maker, will introduce a new, free Web-based e-mail portal under its Outlook brand and phase out Hotmail over time as it seeks to draw users from Google Inc. (GOOG)’s Gmail.

A preview of the new service is going online today and Hotmail probably will be phased out in the next year, said Brian Hall, a general manager in Microsoft’s Windows group, in an interview.

By going with Outlook, Microsoft is trying to capitalize on the brand behind the most-used corporate e-mail service, sold as part of its Office suite. While Hotmail is the world’s most popular Web-based e-mail provider, it has lost ground in the U.S. to Google and Yahoo! Inc. (YHOO) as well as other, newer methods of communication, such as social media.

“E-mail is one of the only areas in technology that’s gone eight years without a significant change — the last big move was the release of Gmail — and for us it’s maybe been even longer than that since our last big change,” Hall said. “None of the social networks existed then, and the types of e-mail we get have changed.”

Hotmail was the only one of the top three Web-mail services to lose unique visitors globally in the year through June 2012, falling 4 percent, according to ComScore Inc. (SCOR) Yahoo Mail gained 2 percent and Gmail increased 17 percent.

Hotmail had 324.2 million unique visitors in June, compared with 290.3 million for Yahoo Mail and 277.6 million for Gmail, according to ComScore.

New Features

While Hotmail derives revenue through ads, the main value lies in how often people use e-mail, Hall said. Google is using Gmail to lure customers to its online word processing and spreadsheet applications and away from Microsoft’s Office.

The Outlook Web-mail service can tell whether an e-mail is from a personal contact, in which case it shows content from Facebook Inc. (FB) and Twitter Inc. from the sender. Users will be able to see if a sender is online and enter into a Windows Messenger or Facebook chat session with them. In the future, Skype Internet calling capability also will be added, Hall said.

The new portal will let users sort by types of e-mail to categorize messages from their contacts, social media updates or newsletters such as a Groupon Inc. (GRPN) offer. They can set it to only keep the latest Groupon offer or the last few, and clear out the rest.

It’s also meant to have a clean-looking design that leaves more space to display e-mails, compared with Gmail, Hall said. Ads are also less obtrusive, he said, and don’t appear alongside personal messages.

To contact the reporter on this story: Dina Bass in Seattle at dbass2@bloomberg.net

Microsoft-Skype Snooping Accusations Push All the Paranoia Buttons

Hold the phone, Internet, before deciding whether Microsoft has engineered a backdoor to allow Skype wiretaps.

By Robert X. Cringely, Infoworld

Has Microsoft has figured out a way to bug Skype calls? A report published in Slate late last week suggests this might maybe possibly be theoretically true — cue the InterWeb’s full-blown paranoia party.

In a blog post titled “Skype won’t say whether it can eavesdrop on your conversations,” Slate’s Ryan Gallagher determined through dogged questioning that Microsoft will neither confirm nor deny that it has built a backdoor into Skype that would allow the government to wiretap VoIP calls.

From this he naturally concludes that Microsoft really is eavesdropping on our conversations and is trying to keep it a big fat secret:

… when I repeatedly questioned the company on Wednesday whether it could currently facilitate wiretap requests, a clear answer was not forthcoming. Citing “company policy,” Skype PR man Chaim Haas wouldn’t confirm or deny, telling me only that the chat service “co-operates with law enforcement agencies as much as is legally and technically possible.”

Shares of Reynolds Wrap aluminum foil just went up 17 percent on the news.

Gallagher’s other “proof”? In June 2011, one month after Microsoft announced its acquisition of Skype, it received a patent for technology that would allow it to “silently copy communication transmitted via the communication session.”

Sounds scary, don’t it? The problem with that theory is a) Microsoft applied for this “Legal Intercept” patent two years before it acquired Skype, and 2) the patent doesn’t really say much about how the technology would actually work, let alone bust through Skype’s 256-bit AES end-to-end encryption.

Gallagher also relied on a story by another Forbes blogger, Anthony Wing Kosner, which quoted from an ExtremeTech story by Tim Verry about claims made a hacker who goes by the handle Alien Nesby, who says Microsoft added “backdoors for government” to Skype after the acquisition was final.

Nesby made his claim based on a 43-word comment posted three months ago on Hacker News, but he wrote it in FULL CAPS, so you know it must be true.

Microsoft directly denied the claims made in Verry’s post, noting it did recently overhaul its Skype network, but the changes were made to increase quality of service and security, not for spying. But that didn’t stop Forbes blogger Eric Jackson from jumping right on the paranoia pony and riding it to the finish line. In a blog post titled “It’s terrifying and sickening that Microsoft can listen in on all my Skype calls,” Eric proves he has 1) a rather delicate constitution, and b) clearly been taking courses in how to write traffic-magnet blog headlines.

First, let’s acknowledge it might be true that Microsoft has figured out a way to allow authorities to listen to calls made via Skype. That would bring Skype in line with the Communications Assistance for Law Enforcement Act (CALEA), or the same 1994 law that governs wiretaps and was expanded in 2005 to allow access to digital phone networks.

Skype has some 660 million users; do you really think the feds are going to treat it any differently than the cellphone you have in your pocket or the one that might still be plugged into your wall? The notion that Skype will, eventually, conform to CALEA is just a matter of time.

What happens to it from there — if all our calls and chats will then be sucked into the vast data center being constructed in a Utah salt mine by the NSA, for example — is anyone’s guess. Insert your favorite conspiracy theory here. Also: Get me James Cameron, I have a movie script I want to pitch.

Until then, though, we need to take a deep breath and figure out what is actually true about any of this. So far, there ain’t much.

What Microsoft should do is issue a transparency report similar to the ones released recently by Google and Twitter, detailing the many requests it receives for user data from various and sundry government authorities. It should also officially publish the guidelines authorities must follow in order to request information, as well as what types of data are available and how long they are retained. That document [PDF] was made available via a leak to Cryptome.org and is now four years old; I’d like a fresh copy, please.

That would be one way to dispel the notion that Microsoft is the evil bogeyman — at least, more evil than all the other bogeymen. But it won’t make for a very sexy headline.

Is Microsoft Skype-spying on us? Doff your tin foil hats below or beam your thoughts to me via cringe@infoworld.com.

This article, “Microsoft-Skype snooping accusations push all the paranoia buttons,” was originally published at InfoWorld.com. Follow the crazy twists and turns of the tech industry with Robert X. Cringely’s Notes from the Field blog, and subscribe to Cringely’s Notes from the Underground newsletter.

For more IT analysis and commentary on emerging technologies, visit InfoWorld.com. Story copyright © 2011 InfoWorld Media Group. All rights reserved.