According to this article over at Wired, it appears as though Microsoft has provided a secure distribution of Windows XP to the United States Air Force — but no one else. From the article:
It’s the most secure distribution version of Windows XP ever produced by Microsoft: More than 600 settings are locked down tight, and critical security patches can be installed in an average of 72 hours instead of 57 days.
The article also explains how the Air Force persuaded Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer, presumably with threats of coordinated F-22 air strikes to his summer cottage, to provide it with a secure Windows configuration. Allan Paller, research director of the Sans Institute, spoke at a congressional hearing earlier this week on cybersecurity. At the hearing he explained that this secured operating system could be a template for how the government “could use its massive purchasing power to get companies to produce more secure products.” Alan also believes that this model could lead to other security products trickling down to the rest of us.
I’d like to think that this model does eventually trickle-down but I fear that it will be a very slow roll out – if at all.
The full article can be found here: http://www.wired.com/threatlevel/2009/04/air-force-windows/