Microsoft, its suspicions raised by reports of the NSA spying on rivals Google and Yahoo—and seemingly everybody else—plans to beef up its defenses, sources tell the Washington Post. The company is working on new ways to encrypt its Internet traffic after documents released by Edward Snowden suggested that Microsoft services Hotmail and Windows Live Messenger were targets of MUSCULAR—the NSA surveillance project that hacked Google and Yahoo's communication systems.
"We’re focused on engineering improvements that will further strengthen security, including strengthening security against snooping by governments," Microsoft general counsel Brad Smith told shareholders last week, calling the alleged NSA snooping "very disturbing"—and unconstitutional. Experts say private companies' move toward greater encryption is one of the biggest changes caused by the Snowden leaks—and Microsoft's critics say the effort is long overdue. The Electronic Frontier Foundation gives the company just one mark out of a possible five in its security report card. (Read more Microsoft stories.)