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 only problem is, you have to join the Air Force to get it.
The Air Force persuaded Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer to provide it with a secure Windows configuration that saved the service about $100 million in contract costs and countless hours of maintenance. At a congressional hearing this week on cybersecurity, Alan Paller, research director of the Sans Institute, shared the story as a template for how the government could use its massive purchasing power to get companies to produce more secure products. And those could eventually be available to the rest of us. [source]