FRANKFURT Aug 22 A German government technology
agency has warned that new security technology in computers
running Microsoft's Windows 8 operating system may
actually make PCs more vulnerable to cyber threats, including
Germany's Federal Office for Information Security, or BSI,
said in a statement posted on its website on Wednesday that
federal government agencies and critical infrastructure
operators should pay particular attention to the risk.
The warning comes after weeks of public indignation in
Germany over leaks related to U.S. surveillance programs. The
spying scandal has become a headache for Chancellor Angela
Merkel ahead of a Sept. 22 election.
The problem, according to the BSI, is with the use of a
computer chip known as the Trusted Platform Module, or TPM 2.0,
which is built into Windows 8 computers. TPM 2.0 is designed to
better protect PCs by interacting with a variety of security
But the BSI, which provides advice on technology and
security to the government as well as the public, said the joint
implementation of Windows 8 and TPM 2.0 chips could lead to "a
loss of control" over both the operating system and hardware,
without specifying exactly how that could occur.
"As a result, new risks occur for users, especially for
federal and critical infrastructure," it said.
The statement concluded: "The new mechanisms in use can also
be used for sabotage by third parties. These risks need to be
Microsoft declined comment on the BSI statement.
The company provided Reuters with a statement saying that PC
makers have the option to turn off TPM technology, so that
customers can buy PCs with it disabled.
TPM was developed by the Trusted Computing Group, a
non-profit organization backed by technology firms including IBM
, Intel, Hewlett-Packard and Microsoft.
The BSI said it was working with the Trusted Computing Group
and operating systems producers to find a solution.
A spokeswoman for that group declined to comment on the
specific claims raised by the BSI. She said the group has
provided PC makers and users with plenty of advice on best
security practices to avoid any threats that they may face.