WannaCry is your fault — Microsoft to NSA

WannaCry is your fault — Microsoft to NSA

WannaCry is your fault — Microsoft to NSA

Microsoft has now provided security updates for all customers using Windows 8 and Windows Server 2003, anticipating further attacks on these earlier platforms being used by millions.

There are the companies, universities, hospitals and other organizations that didn't install Microsoft's fixes and take other precautions, such as backing up data.

Who is behind the attack? Most of the leaked exploits are said to use zero-day vulnerabilities, previously unknown software exploits used by hackers before the software makers are aware of them. "Still, the NSA can't be very proud of this".

The hacker, whose are yet to be recognised employed a technique, allegedly stolen from the US National Security Agency for targeting the market-leading Windows operating system of Microsoft. "Microsoft knew about this vulnerability - how widely it could get exploited", he said.

Brad Smith, the President and Chief Legal Officer of Microsoft has blamed the practice of US's National Security Agency for developing hacking techniques to use against the own enemies of the USA government, while some others have blamed Microsoft's poor programming.

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The ACLU, meanwhile, urged Congress to pass a law requiring the government to disclose vulnerabilities to companies "in a timely manner", so that they can patch them as soon as possible.

Avivah Litan, a cybersecurity analyst at Gartner, agreed that the government is "is negligent not doing a better job protecting companies", but added that it's not like "you can stop the US government from developing cybertools" that then work as intended. "However, NSA is not entirely responsible for the event, and hence Microsoft should voluntarily accept some accountability".

Still, it was Microsoft that wrote the exploitable software to begin with.

It should be noted the WannaCry ransomware, which exploits the EternalBlue vulnerability in Microsoft's Windows OS, doesn't impact devices running on Linux or Apple's MacOS. A month prior to the expose about its vulnerability, they had released a free patch - an update that is created to strengthen security vulnerabilities to counter the exact weakness that the ransomware is exploiting.

Chris Wysopal, chief technology officer with software security company Veracode, said that after ransomware attacks, researchers will often infect one of their own machines on objective to see if the key is somehow left in the memory. He noted, however, the complexity that can be involved in patching a security hole.

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The payment is untraceable, and the end-user or the attacker which originally sent out the virus remains a mystery to global security agencies. The computers would operate normally, but the miner would also run in the background. Multiple backups also help.

If you don't pay, your encrypted files are lost.

"It's not rocket science", Litan said. Asked what the company is doing to prevent such exploitations, he cited "basic IT security blocking and tackling". Download the latest security and anti-malware software right here on FileHippo - all for free.

Echoing that view, the former government official said: "One way to view it might be: they made a defective product that the current laws don't make them liable for, and force you to buy a new product otherwise you are vulnerable to harm from the existing product".

These factors help explain the mystery of why such a tiny number of victims appear to have paid ransoms into the three bitcoin accounts to which WannaCry directs victims. If they caught, that is.

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