Windows into the White House? Situation Room photo stirs debate over Microsoft o ...
(White House Photo / Shealah Craighead)

Talk about a screen shot.

An official photo shared by the White House on Tuesday evening captured President Donald Trump and Vice President Mike Pence meeting with Republican and Democratic congressional leaders in the Situation Room of the White House. In the background were large computer screens showing that windows 10 is the preferred OS in that particular room, located in the basement of the West Wing and known for its secure communications capabilities.

The image, captured by official White House photographer Shealah Craighead and distributed by the Office of the Press Secretary, was quickly shared on Twitter, causing a bit of a commotion over the White House’s choice of operating system.

Holy shit. That's Windows 10… in the White House Situation Room.

― Zack Whittaker (@zackwhittaker) January 3, 2019

While the image seems, at the minimum, to be a nice product placement for Microsoft, opinions differ on whether it was a big deal that Windows 10 was in use, or whether being able to see the screens constituted some sort of security vulnerability. Trump’s team certainly isn’t alone as Windows users. The latest stats show Windows 10 surpassing Windows 7 in overall usage , and Microsoft said last year that Windows 10 was installed on more than 700 million active devices .

In pointing out the picture, Zach Whittaker, TechCrunch security editor, referenced Windows 10’s “god awful telemetry” ― Microsoft’s collection of systems data from computers running Windows ― while also saying he expected tech journalist and author Ed Bott to weigh in. Bott focuses on Microsoft Windows, and his primer on Windows 10 telemetry is illuminating .

Bott replied, as if on cue, with an open-source reference.

Which linux distro would you choose for the WH Situation Room?

― Ed Bott (@edbott) January 3, 2019

Is this surprise that it's not XP anymore?

― Pwn All The Things (@pwnallthethings) January 3, 2019

honestly I don't even know. Windows 10 is fine if it wasn't for the god awful telemetry.

― Zack Whittaker (@zackwhittaker) January 3, 2019

Hard to get the telemetry out of the SCIF tho.

― Pwn All The Things (@pwnallthethings) January 3, 2019

Jokes at the expense of the president and the Redmond, Wash.-based software giant ensued.At the very least, it seems as though Trump should ask for the desktop background image to be updated from the Windows 10 default to that “Game of Thrones”-style poster he was so proud of earlier in the day.

Keep scrolling for a sampling of the replies.

you know at some point Trump just logged in on the WH_Public network just to show Pence a tweet he did that morning.

― Zack Whittaker (@zackwhittaker) January 3, 2019

That the photo was released with the screen visible is shit opsec and shouldn't have happened.

― \chrism (@chrismerkel) January 3, 2019

No it's not. It's a screen. Omfg the White House uses icons…icons!!! Wait until you find out the DOD publishes the stigs they is to configure their machines

― Charles Jones (@charleswj81) January 3, 2019

Maybe the Microsoft Paper Clip resigned after too many incidences of “It looks like you’re trying to build a wall/write a press release/fire a general/photoshop your inauguration picture/turn off caps lock.” It’s Cortana’s problem now.

― Steven M. Prentice (@StevenPrentice) January 3, 2019

I believe they have access to people who know a thing or two about hardening and/or making sure it doesn't listen to the room to profile ads.

One would hope, I mean.

― :sunflower: :sunflower: (@notameadow) January 3, 2019

"We have a situation here…"

"Please wait for updates to finish…"

― dom1h (@dom1h) January 3, 2019

I don't expect a bunch of non-techies to use a Linux distro. What OS would you recommend the White House use?

― Robert Rooney (@rdrooney) January 3, 2019

I just find it odd that they haven’t changed the background away from default.

― Moxie is America's best soda (@ediblesticker) January 3, 2019

I think that’s a good thing!! Better than 7 or 8.1!

― Alan Curran (@_AlanCurran) January 3, 2019

Product placement fees, right?

― Ruth Laura Edlund (@tdgor) January 3, 2019

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