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20 May 2017, 03:12 | Megan Pierce
Microsoft has issued a blistering attack on the USA government after a software vulnerability stockpiled by the National Security Agency (NSA) paralysed NHS hospitals and thousands of other organisations around the world. "A month prior, on March 14, Microsoft had released a security update to patch this vulnerability and protect our customers", they continued.
"My answer is, never pay the ransom", Lawrence Abrams, a New York-based blogger who runs BleepingComputer.com told The Associated Press. And while Microsoft said it had already released a security update to patch the vulnerability one month earlier, the sequence of events fed speculation that the NSA hadn't told the US tech giant about the security risk until after it had been stolen.
Microsoft's top lawyer has called on governments around the world to treat the global cyber attack as a "wake-up call" as he laid part of the blame at the door of the U.S. administration.
He said the governments around the world should treat the WannCrypt ransomware attack as a "wake-up call" and must "take a different approach and adhere in cyberspace to the same rules applied to weapons in the physical world".
NSA has a tendency to exploit the flaws instead of telling vendors about them, as we've learned from Edward Snowden's revelations. If you are running Windows 10, your computer won't be affected. "There's no waving that away".
The attack had hit more than 200,000 hospitals, corporations, government agencies and other organizations in 150 countries by Monday. "It is deeply disturbing the National Security Agency likely wrote the original malware". And the software is already inspiring imitators, as the Bleeping Computer site reports. The VEP was established to determine whether the government should withhold or disclose information about computer software security vulnerabilities.
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As a loose global network of cybersecurity experts fought the ransomware hackers, Chinese state media said 29,372 institutions there had been infected along with hundreds of thousands of devices.
Once your system has ransomware, your choices are limited: pay or don't pay.
If this ransomware attack has proven anything, investing in security isn't just a good idea, it's mission critical. However, as of this morning, there haven't been any signs of widespread renewed activity.
As a signal intelligence agency, the NSA comes across (or creates) many vulnerabilities in software that it can then use to achieve its intelligence goals.
Microsoft also issued a security patch for older Windows operating systems that are no longer supported: Windows Server 2003 SP2 x64, Windows Server 2003 SP2 x86, Windows XP SP2 x64, Windows XP SP3 x86, Windows XP Embedded SP3 x86, Windows 8 x86 and Windows 8 x64 directly from Microsoft.
He added: "This attack provides yet another example of why the stockpiling of vulnerabilities by governments is such a problem".
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