Friday, 24 November, 2017

Microsoft president slams United States govt over ransomware

Kayla Schwartz | 20 May, 2017, 01:27

In mid-march, Microsoft distributed a security update after it detected the security flaw in its XP operating system that enabled the so-called WannaCry ransomware to infiltrate and freeze computers last week.

As a result, over 100,000 new infections were prevented, according to U.K.'s National Cyber Security Centre.

The vulnerability has been known since February, when Microsoft cancelled its monthly Patch Tuesday deployment to address the problem.

Microsoft's President and Chief Legal Officer has come out today blaming governments' stockpiling of hacking tools as part of the reason for the recent hack that affected the NHS. Afterward, threats that the data will be destroyed or made inaccessible are made, if ransom has not been paid after a set period.

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

"We have seen vulnerabilities stored by the Central Intelligence Agency show up on WikiLeaks, and now this vulnerability stolen from the NSA has affected customers around the world", he wrote.

United Kingdom general election: Theresa May launches manifesto
The value of the pound has tumbled since Britons voted to leave the bloc, pushing costs up and driving inflation past wage growth. The platform signals that May is more willing than her predecessor, David Cameron, to let the state intervene in markets.

Avivah Litan, a cybersecurity analyst at Gartner, agreed that the government is "is negligent not doing a better job protecting companies", but added that it's not like "you can stop the USA government from developing cybertools" that then work as intended.

Still, it was Microsoft that wrote the exploitable software to begin with. "It knows how to exploit vulnerabilities in Windows XP, Windows Vista, Windows 7, Window Server 2008 and earlier versions", said Dinesh Yadav, Centre for Cyber Crime Investigation, Noida. "We are expecting it and have informed the banks since most of our ATMs run on the windows operating system which is the operating system effected by WannaCry", Subhamangala added. While there's been limited public declaration (expect many are keeping quiet) that Australian users have been impacted on a large scale, it does speak to the lack of updating that's happening to connected systems. He noted, however, the complexity that can be involved in patching a security hole.

"This attack is a powerful reminder that information technology basics like keeping computers current and patched are a high responsibility for everyone, and it's something every top executive should support", he said.

While any technological steps that organizations can take to reduce their own vulnerabilities in the future go far beyond my understanding, human resources departments can help protect their organizations by creating a cyber-aware culture.

This is because the virus may be spreading via email attachments or trusted websites, Mr MacGibbon told ABC, and if you don't open or click on to the infected sites then you won't be impacted.

The virus exploits a flaw in a version of Microsoft Windows first identified by U.S. intelligence.

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