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Germany fears NSA has key to hijack Microsoft Windows 8 computers

The German government is reportedly concerned that computers running Windows 8 are not safe to use.

German publication Zeit Online claims that a leaked document from the country's Federal Office for Information Security (BSI) raises serious concerns over Microsoft's operating system.

Specifically, the BSI suspects that the deployment of Windows 8 alongside the inbuilt Trusted Platform Mobile computer chip (which is designed to bolster computer protection) can leave devices vulnerable to cyber attacks.

This combination, according to the BSI, could lead to "a loss of control" over both the computer's hardware and software.

Furthermore, the BSI document alleges that the Windows 8 operating system allows the US National Security Agency (NSA), through Microsoft, to remotely access and seize control of devices.

"The new mechanisms in use can also be used for sabotage by third parties," said the BSI. "These risks need to be addressed."

Microsoft was just one of numerous major technology companies to become thickly involved in the massive PRISM scandal that emerged over the summer.

The German government, led by Chancellor Angela Merkel, was particularly outraged by the NSA's antics, and has since adopted an eight-point programme to protect its citizens' privacy.

This news comes during a huge day for Microsoft. Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer has announced that he is to step down within the next 12 months, after more than 10 years in the job.

On a brighter note, Microsoft's Windows Phone mobile operating system is now the second most widely used in South America.