The software most responsible for all the hacking and illegal mayhem on the Internet is Microsoft operating systems. The numerous flaws found in this stuff has become the hackers best ally when attempts are made to illegally penetrate someone else's computer systems. Because of this, it has taken Microsoft three years to get it's last generation operating system (Windows 2000) certified as secure enough to be used for classified government systems (particularly those in the Department of Defense and National Security Agency.) Actually, this certification has helped all Windows 2000 users, because there is no special "secure" version of Windows 2000. The government insisted that the same Windows 2000 everyone else uses be made secure. So, as of the recent release of Service Pack 3, Windows 2000 (which was originally released in 1999) is now considered good to go for secret work. Since so many government agencies use Microsoft operating systems, this is no small matter. Before the certification last month, systems carrying classified data and using Windows 2000, had to get special permission to do so. This involved additional time, money and hassle to insure that the system in question was not going to be a major security liability. Windows 2000 was the first Microsoft product to receive this certification. At least 75 other products have been certified earlier, including Sun Computers Solaris operating system. Windows 2000 is no longer the latest Microsoft operating system. Windows XP replaced Windows 2000 last year. No word on how long it will take to get Windows XP certified.