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NSA should 'shoulder some blame' for WannaCry ransomware attack - Chinese state media

19 May 2017, 01:06 | Bernard Bryant

The Shadow Brokers allegedly hacked the NSA's Equation Group to steal EternalBlue, along with other tools, and tried to auction it. They just happen to hit the motherlode.

Microsoft declined to comment for this story.

In 2014, Microsoft ended support for the highly popular Windows XP, released in 2001 and engineered beginning in the late 1990s, arguing that the software was out of date and wasn't built with modern security safeguards.

Nash said he's glad he insisted his few dozen area clients upgrade their respective operating systems from Windows XP, including the last to do so about a year ago.

But, because Microsoft is a technology company, it whines about the government failing to subsidize its quality-control efforts.

The culprit was "ransomware" known as WanaCryptOr 2.0, or WannaCry. Around 30,000 of those are located in China, according to the newspaper.

Proofpoint also claimed that the Adylkuzz attack likely predates the WannaCry attack by several weeks, and possibly affects "hundreds of thousands of PCs and servers worldwide".

Meaning, as he wrote in a blog post this past weekend, agencies like that NSA should have a "new requirement" to report vulnerabilities they find to software makers like Microsoft, instead of stockpiling or selling or exploiting them. Late Friday, Microsoft took the unusual step of making patches that protect older systems against WannaCry, including Windows XP, free.

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An unknown number of computers sit behind the 300,000 infected internet connections identified by Kryptos. Security patches would be available for clients with older machines, but only if they paid for custom support agreements.

To prepare for fallout with customers, Judson Althoff, a Microsoft executive vice president, sent an email to the company's field sales team Sunday encouraging them to be supportive of businesses targeted by the attack, or even those who were simply aware of it.

However, a bug in WannaCry code means the attackers can not use unique bitcoin addresses to track payments, security researchers at Symantec found this week.

"The high price highlights the quandary the world's biggest software company faces as it tries to force customers to move to newer and more secure software", it said.

If you're facing a ransom demand and locked out of your files, law enforcement and cybersecurity experts discourage paying ransoms because it gives incentives to hackers and pays for their future attacks.

Microsoft released a patch to fix the exploit in March.

The rapid recovery by many organisations with unpatched computers caught out by the attack may largely be attributed to back-up and retrieval procedures they had in place, enabling technicians to re-image infected machines, experts said.

"They're going to end up going above and beyond and some vendors are going to start extending support for out-of-support things that they haven't done before", said Greg Young, an analyst at market research firm Gartner.

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