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NSA Gives Thumbs Up to Microsoft Surface Tablets

February 13, 2017, 7:46 PM UTC
Microsoft Corp. Opens New Office And Experience Center
An employee uses a Microsoft Corp. Surface tablet computer at the company's Office and Experience Center during a media event for the opening of the workspace in Hong Kong, China, on Friday, March 4, 2016. Microsoft is rolling out a new service for its Windows 10 operating system to help large businesses detect hackers, security threats and unusual behavior on their networks, rivaling companies like FireEye Inc. and Symantec Corp. Photographer: Billy H.C. Kwok/Bloomberg via Getty Images
Bill H.C. Kwok—Bloomberg via Getty Images

National Security Agency workers can now safely use Microsoft Surface tablets devices for data mining, intelligence gathering, or more humdrum work like checking email.

Microsoft’s (MSFT) Surface tablets and the tech giant’s Windows 10 operating system are now officially part of the NSA’s list of approved technologies that its employees can use when dealing with classified information.

It should be noted that as of now, the only Windows 10 devices that the NSA deems safe to use for its workers are the Surface tablets. The NSA has not yet approved other any other Windows 10-powered personal computers built by third-party vendors like HP Inc. (HPQ) or Dell Technologies to its list of sanctioned devices.

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The NSA, through its Commercial Solutions for Classified Program, routinely evaluates various corporate technologies to see if they meet the agency’s tough guidelines for cyber security. Companies that want to be added to the NSA’s list of approved technologies must show that they built their products to comply with various government cyber security standards and sign an agreement requiring them to “fix vulnerabilities in a timely fashion,” according to the NSA.

“The CSfC program listing demonstrates Windows 10, as well as Surface devices (the only Windows 10 devices currently on the list), when used in a layered solution, can meet the highest security requirements for use in classified environments,” wrote Rob Lefferts, a Microsoft director of program management for Windows Enterprise and Security, in a corporate blog.

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Besides Windows 10 or Surface tablets, several other Microsoft products are part of the NSA’s approved list of technologies, including its Server 2016 software, the BitLocker encryption service, and older versions of Windows.