Thursday, 23 November, 2017

Microsoft Slams Governments For Global 'WannaCrypt' Attacks

Microsoft Slams Governments For Global 'WannaCrypt' Attacks Microsoft Slams Governments For Global 'WannaCrypt' Attacks
Kayla Schwartz | 16 May, 2017, 10:55

Trying to stem the spread of this so-called "ransomware", Smith said that Microsoft has been working night and day to address the problem.

As a loose global network of cybersecurity experts fought the ransomware hackers, officials and experts on Sunday urged organizations and companies to update older Microsoft operating systems immediately to ensure they aren't vulnerable to a more powerful version of the software - or to future versions that can't be stopped.

Worldwide standards should compel countries not to stockpile or exploit software vulnerabilities, says Smith, who is also Microsoft's chief legal officer.

But he also placed fault in national governments.

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. 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. He called, once again, for a Digital Geneva Convention that would require governments to "report vulnerabilities to vendors, rather than stockpile, sell, or exploit them".

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The government is not legally bound to notify at-risk companies.

"Repeatedly, exploits in the hands of governments have leaked into the public domain and caused widespread damage", Smith added. But some experts have argued this attack could have been vastly mitigated if the NSA told Microsoft sooner.

Overall, Smith's statement is an urgent call for a united front - the tech sector, customers, and governments - against cyberattacks, but the biggest wake-up call is by far the message to government agencies such as the NSA and CIA.

Companies and institutions are often slow to update their computers because it can screw up internal software that is built to work with a certain version of Windows. "They need to take a different approach and adhere in cyberspace to the same rules applied to weapons in the physical world", he said.

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