Microsoft offers free security fixes following global cyberattack

20 Mai, 2017, 00:51 | Author: Lucrece Courtet
  • 75,000 ransomware attacks hit 99 countries on Friday

Enable the "Show file extensions" option in the Windows settings on your computer.

The attack has hit more than 200,000 victims across the world since Friday and is seen as an "escalating threat", said Rob Wainwright, the head of Europol, Europe's policing agency.

An official from Cybersecurity Administration China (CAC) told local media on Monday the ransomware had affected industry and government computer systems but the spread was slowing.

The attack held hospitals and other entities hostage by freezing their computers, encrypting their data and demanding money through online bitcoin payment - $300 at first, rising to $600 before it destroys files hours later.

Microsoft's top lawyer is laying some of the blame at the feet of the USA government. The problem is that once those vulnerabilities become public, they can be used by others. It's about what intelligence agencies, like the CIA and the NSA, need to do.

The argument that it's the NSA's fault has merit, according to Alex Abdo, staff attorney at the Knight First Amendment Institute at Columbia University.

"The government's response has been chaotic", the British Labour Party's health spokesman Jon Ashworth said. "When a design flaw is discovered in a auto, manufacturers issue a recall".

Lawrence Abrams, a New York-based blogger who runs BleepingComputer.com, says many organizations don't install security upgrades because they're anxious about triggering bugs, or they can't afford the downtime. One month earlier, Microsoft had released a patch targeting the vulnerability.

Carmaker Renault said one of its French plants, which employs 3,500 people, wasn't reopening Monday as a "preventative step" while technicians deal with the aftermath of the attack.

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Microsoft released a security patch for the vulnerabilities in March. "So they no longer get the security updates they should be". 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. That could saddle the company with the XP albatross for many years past when it hoped to be free from having to maintain the software.

In other words, the group felt that paying to patch XP gave different departments an excuse not to think about upgrading from old software.

On Monday, private-sector sleuths found a clue about potentially who's responsible for the WannaCrypt attack.

Cybersecurity researchers, however, have tentatively linked the WannaCry ransomware campaign to the Lazarus group, a hacking operation which is believed to have links to North Korea.

On its own, the shared code is little more than an intriguing lead. "We've seen a huge focus on nation-state hacking by other countries including Russian Federation and North Korea".

The statement made by, President and Chief Legal Officer of Microsoft, begins by describing the nature of the global attacks and expounding any relevant context on the issue. Some security researchers speculated that if the perpetrators were North Korean, the goal may have been to cause a widespread internet outage to coincide with this weekend's latest missile test.

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. How come? WannaCry uses vulnerability in old versions of Windows that was originally discovered and exploited by the U.S. National Security Agency as an offensive cyber-weapon. "To keep the world safe these things have to be done".

The hackers remain anonymous for now, but it appears that they are amateurs. "Occasionally mistakes happen", he added.

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