Hugh Pickens writes: "ZDNet reports that Microsoft has given access to source code for Windows Server 2008 R2, Microsoft Office 2010 and Microsoft SQL Server to the Russian Federal Security Service, the main successor agency of the Soviet-era Cheka, NKVD and KGB, with hopes of improving Microsoft sales to the Russian state in an agreement that will allow Russia to study the source code and develop cryptography for the Microsoft products through the Science-Technical Centre 'Atlas', a government body controlled by the Ministry of Communications and Press. "The purpose of the GSP (Government Security Program) is to increase trust with national governments," says Microsoft in a statement. "In the case of the Russian agreement, GSP participation will facilitate the development of the next generation of secured solutions for Russian government agencies based on the latest Microsoft technologies and Russian cryptography." The agreement is an extension to a deal Microsoft struck with the Russian government in 2002 to share source code for Windows XP, Windows 2000 and Windows Server 2000. Not everyone is pleased with the agreement. Cambridge University security expert Richard Clayton says that opening up source code could enable a government to find security holes that the state could use to launch attacks against other nations, adding that there are tens of thousands of bugs in Microsoft products, in part due to the sheer volume of source code and that an attacker only has to find one hole and exploit it successfully to gain access to other systems. "It's completely asymmetrical," says Clayton."
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