U.S. should not stockpile cyber weapons, Microsoft says

US should not stockpile cyber weapons, Microsoft says

The attack has hit more than 200,000 computers.

When the National Security Agency lost control of the software behind the WannaCry cyberattack, it was like "the USA military having some of its Tomahawk missiles stolen", Microsoft President Brad Smith says, in a message about the malicious software that has created havoc on computer networks in more than 150 countries since Friday.

When Microsoft stopped supporting Windows XP, to which they had extended the product lifecycle on multiple occasions, it was only a matter of time before a massive cyber attack occurred against these users and unfortunately, it was a hospital hit the hardest.

The WannaCry attack wasn't a big-time nation-state operation, though it's likely that it may have originated in Russian Federation. If the malware is able to successfully connect to this domain, it will not encrypt any files.

"[People] should be thinking about this as an attack that for right now we (have) got under control", said Bossert, in an interview with ABC News on Monday.

Asian countries like Japan, South Korea and China were the latest to announce being hit by the malicious virus that began in Europe on Friday, but the spread of the ransomware appeared to be slowing thanks to the discovery of a "kill switch" over the weekend by a 22-year-old being called an "accidental hero".

"We are taking the highly unusual step of providing a security update for all customers to protect Windows platforms that are in custom support only, including Windows XP, Windows 8, and Windows Server 2003", wrote Phillip Misner security group manager at the Microsoft Security Response Center (MSRM), in a blog posted on Friday. The tools were made public by a hacking group called the Shadow Brokers.

The computing giant said software vulnerabilities hoarded by governments had caused "widespread damage", the BBC reported. He finds the threat so severe as to liken it to "the US military having some of its Tomahawk missiles stolen" and points to the need for something like a. "This most recent attack represents a completely unintended but disconcerting link between the two most serious forms of cybersecurity threats in the world today - nation-state action and organized criminal action", he added.

Microsoft and its peers shouldn't count on the NSA to hand over information about vulnerabilities; spies will be spies.

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"Technology companies owe their customers a reliable process for patching security vulnerabilities, " he said. Smith suggested there needs to be something like a "Digital Geneva Convention" to govern these issues.

How did the NSA plan to use Eternalblue in the first place?

There are almost 150 million computers running Windows XP operation system globally.

Governments and businesses around the world were later revealed to be affected as well, with the ransomware taking advantage of a vulnerability in several Windows machines. "Unfortunately, most people don't have them", Abrams says. "Software updates and security patches are pushed to us as needed so that we are using the most current approved versions of software on our computers".

In Britain, whose health service was among the first high-profile targets of the attack Friday, some hospitals and doctors' offices were still struggling to recover.

In the same way that bacteria mutate to become resistant to antibiotics, so has the WannaCry virus. For the German railroads, too, switching all the ticket terminals to Windows 10 is not exactly a priority.

The NHS did have one safeguard - the United Kingdom government was still paying Microsoft for extended security support after the cut-off date. Certainly many institutions and companies underinvest in this area. Concerns have been voiced about the outdated computer systems on these submarines for some time, to little avail.

It would be naive to believe that would rule out the use of such cyberweapons. Updating software will take care of some vulnerability.

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