There was not surprising news this week that the US National Security Agency (NSA) and contractors are hard at work trying to hack into iPhones and iPads. What didn’t get as much attention was the same hackers at work on Windows.
It’s no surprise that security agencies are working on ways to hack into the devices of ‘the enemy’. That’s their job, after all. The lack of oversight and legal restrictions on this spying (which can include citizens and other ‘innocent’ targets) is also no surprise.
The Intercept also mentions attempts to bypass one of Microsoft’s main security offerings, BitLocker. Bitlocker encrypts your hard drive so no-one can (theoretically) read the contents unless they have the password.
Bitlocker can secure your Office documents saved on a hard drive. This is important for laptops which can be stolen. Without Bitlocker, the entire drive can be read by a thief.
Windows 8.1 for Microsoft Office users has a whole chapter on Bitlocker. Step-by-step help to setting up Bitlocker and using the many options.
Cynical people might be surprised that the NSA is going to these lengths. The distrusting assumption being that Apple, Microsoft and others have put ‘backdoors’ or secret hacks into their software for the US government to use. The companies have always denied this happens.
As The Intercept points out, if the US government can hack into devices, so can the Chinese, Russians and any other country. Secure computers and devices is important for everyone.