WannaCry Ransomware: Microsoft Calls Out NSA For 'Stockpiling' Vulnerabilities

The lightning spread of the WannaCry ransomware attack was felt worldwide over the past three days, according to website ZDNet. He adds that governments should report vulnerabilities like the one at the center of the WannaCry attack.

Many people in fact believe someone at NSA must have tipped Microsoft that the files had been stolen, which is how it knew it needed to push out that particular patch, said Ryan Kalember of Proofpoint, a Sunnyvale, Calif. -based security firm whose researchers were instrumental in fighting the the WannaCry attack. However, a 22-year-old United Kingdom security researcher - who goes by the online name "MalwareTech" - discovered a "kill switch" in the software's code, according to BBC. This led researchers to conclude that it's likely not the work of the original authors. This software encrypts the files on hard disk, making it inaccessible.

"The widespread nature of this attack suggests that organizations are still slow to patch significant vulnerabilities like the one now being associated with this event", said Travis Farral, director of security strategy at Anomali and a former ExxonMobil security intelligence supervisor.

Referring to the attack as a "wake-up call", Microsoft's President and Chief Legal Officer, Brad Smith wrote in a blog post that governments have "to consider the damage to civilians that comes from hoarding these vulnerabilities and the use of these exploits".

Microsoft said that the exploit code used by WannaCry is created to work only against unpatched Windows 7 and Windows Server 2008, or even earlier systems such as Windows XP. There apparently had been neither the will nor the skill nor the resources to update to more recent versions. To some extent, this is understandable because deploying patches in environments with a large number of systems is not an easy task.

Organizations have been urged to update their systems immediately to ensure that they are not affected by the ransomware. The company rates the update as "critical" for supported Windows releases. This is the case for ATMs, medical devices, ticketing machines, electronic self-service kiosks, like those in airports, and even servers that run legacy applications that can't easily be reengineered.

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"There's a lot of older Windows products out there that are "end of life" and nobody's bothered to take them out of service", said Cynthia Larose, a cybersecurity expert at the law firm of Mintz Levin.

A Microsoft spokesman reached Sunday said the company had no comment. "They did report the vulnerability to Microsoft when it became a risk".

All versions of Windows prior to Windows 10 are vulnerable to "Ransomware" but Windows 10 is safe from it.

Multiple leaks were posted, including one on April 14 of this year that contained an exploit (flawed computer code that can be used to craft cyberweapons) called EternalBlue.

What is most awesome about all of this is not that it's happening.

Meanwhile, Eiram is convinced there will be many vulnerabilities in the future that will enable similar ransomware attacks.

(Copyright © 2015. All Rights Reserved.)
 
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