Microsoft has teamed with the US government to refine a locked-down, more secure configuration of Windows XP.
Originally developed by the US Air Force in cooperation with Microsoft, the special XP set-up uses hardened Group Policy Objects (a technology in Microsoft's Active Directory) and images, which the Air Force used as the standard OS image for its desktop Windows machines.
The project evolved into the Federal Desktop Core Configuration (fdcc) recommendations maintained by US standards organisation NIST. Sys admins can download the configuration along with group policy objects.
Earlier reports by Wired suggested that Microsoft has worked with the government to develop a secure configuration of XP for use by the military and that this might be somehow out of reach to the hoi polloi, who are left with a system whose out-of-the-box configuration leaves it open to all manner of worms as soon as it's connected to the net.
ITU Global Cybersecurity Agenda