Windows NT 4.0 has failed a US government FIPS 140-1 security test, which bans the operating system from use in US government departments. Microsoft has a service pack planned to enable NT to pass the test, but it will render Internet Explorer 4.0 and Outlook 98 unusable. The problems arise in Microsoft's CryptoAPI modules, which handle the processing of cryptographic code and interface with specialist security hardware. Microsoft may have to hurry if it is not to lose more business: the banking industry is currently considering implementing FIPS 140-1 compliance as well, and it may become a standard for security recognised by other industries.
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