Microsoft gives Russia secret Windows code PTI[ TUESDAY, JANUARY 21, 2003 10:04:47 AM ]
MOSCOW: Russia has become the first nation to get secret source codes of Windows operating system from the US computer giant Microsoft for developing secure software for sensitive government requirements like fighting terrorism. "This reflects Russia's changed relationship with the West and its intensive interaction with them in combating the threat of international terrorism," Microsoft chief in Russia and CIS, Olga Dergunova, said on Monday. Microsoft had said it would make the underlying code for its Windows operating system available to several governments and governmental agencies and Russia was the first country to sign the software giant's Government Security Program. The secret codes of the Windows 2000, Windows XP, Windows CE and Windows Server 2003, due for release in April, were provided to Russia's Federal IT Centre Atlas under an agreement signed by Microsoft with Russia and North Atlantic Treaty Organisation to allow them to review the underlying programming instructions that have been so far guarded as secret intellectual property. It will also give them the technical data to develop their own secure applications to work atop Windows and evaluate the software's ability to withstand attacks. Soon after assuming office, President Vladimir Putin had issued a directive in February 2000 banning use of Windows in sensitive government departments after Russian experts found bugs in the system allowing its US rival - National Security Agency to "peep" inside any computer running on it. According to Atlas Deputy Director Boleslav Izotov, the source codes would boost security of government software to "unprecedented levels and shut doors of sensitive networks for uninvited guests," the ITAR-TASS reported.