WannaCrypt Ransomware Windows Patch: Microsoft Tells Government To Stop Hoarding Security Vulnerabilities

A fix for the vulnerability had been posted by Microsoft in March, but many organizations had either failed to update their systems or were using operating systems like Windows XP, which were not patched as Microsoft no longer issues security patches for such old software.

In a blog post, Brad Smith, president and chief legal officer at Microsoft confirmed that the cyber criminals took advantage of hacking tool that was stolen from the U.S. National Security Agency (NSA). The attack, which is still unfolding, is now a fight between whitehat hackers, companies like Microsoft and the criminals attempting to run the world's biggest extortion scheme. The ransomware attack has affected more than 200,000 victims in 150 countries, said Rob Wainwright, head of law enforcement agency Europol.

He adds that governments should report vulnerabilities like the one at the center of the WannaCry attack. The attack is believed to have been carried out using tools that were stolen from the U.S. security agency NSA, which had been stockpiling on a number of vulnerabilities around Windows OS, MacOS, etc. Therefore, when the vulnerabilities got into the wrong hands, it is akin to the "US military having some of its Tomahawk missiles stolen" without the necessary defence to protect consumers.

Friday's attack largely hit businesses and large organizations: United Kingdom hospitals, a Spanish telecom, FedEx, the Russian Interior Ministry, and more.

Monday, President Donald Trump's homeland security adviser Tom Bossert confirmed FedEx was hit by the "WannaCry" malware.

The ransomware is believed to be based on tools stolen from the US National Security Agency.

Senator says Flynn hasn't responded to subpoena
Flynn previously refused to turn over the documents to Senate Intelligence Committee prompting the subpoena in the first place. The Intelligence Committee is seeking to interview Flynn as part of its probe of Russian election interference.

Drawing a comparison with the global rules that apply to conventional weapons, Smith is urging governments to act more responsibly with what are basically cyber weapons.

"With the success of the initial infection of WannaCry, it wouldn't be at all surprising to see the next iteration released soon", said Millard in an email remarks sent to eWEEK.

The unprecedented WannaCry global cyber attack beginning on Friday has unleashed a new wave of criticism directed at the NSA.

Bossert added that USA officials were not disregarding the possibility that the global cyberattack was a "state action".

"We need governments to consider the damage to civilians that comes from hoarding these vulnerabilities and the use of these exploits", Smith wrote.

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