×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Microsoft Blames Spy Agencies for Ransomware Disaster

Microsoft didn’t hold back in a response to this weekend’s massive ransomware attack, which by latest estimates has infected and knocked out more than 200,000 computers worldwide. The software giant squarely but the blame on spy agencies for such incidents in a blog post published by Microsoft President and Chief Legal Officer Brad Smith Sunday. “The governments of the world should treat this attack as a wake-up call,” Smith wrote.

Microsoft is blaming the NSA in particular, because the exploit used for the attack was first discovered by a paid contractor of the spy agency, and afterwards kept secret to be used for future surveillance. The NSA stockpiled a number of such cyber weapons, only to see hackers steal them and leak them online this year.

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

“This is one reason we called in February for a new ‘Digital Geneva Convention’ to govern these issues, including a new requirement for governments to report vulnerabilities to vendors, rather than stockpile, sell, or exploit them,” he continued. “We should take from this recent attack a renewed determination for more urgent collective action. We need the tech sector, customers, and governments to work together to protect against cybersecurity attacks.”

Microsoft released a patch for the vulnerability exploited in this weekend’s ransomware attack last month after it surfaced on Wikileaks.

However, many users didn’t immediately update their computers. Hardest hit have been users of old and outdated operating systems, which in many cases included specialized applications. This led to massive outages at U.K. healthcare providers, and Twitter users posted photos of hacked public transit signage.

Security researchers were able to stop the flow of new infections this weekend after discovering a kind of kill switch, but there are concerns that new versions could flare up again this week. For its part, Microsoft said that its 3500 security engineers have been working hard to put an end to this specific attack. As part of this, Microsoft also issued patches for older versions of Windows that it hasn’t officially been supporting anymore.

More Digital

  • Google Stadia is a Net Neutrality

    Google Stadia is a Net Neutrality Nightmare

    At the Game Developers Conference (GDC) this year, Google announced that it has taken up the long and ever-lengthening dream of the video game streaming service. Meant to replace the hefty, pricey, altogether confounding experience of buying and using various gaming hardware, Google Stadia will run video games on Google’s own hardware in a server [...]

  • crunchyroll logo

    Crunchyroll Raises Subscription Price to $7.99

    AT&T-owned anime subscription video service Crunchyroll is raising its monthly subscription price from $6.95 to $7.99 a month, it announced in an email to members Friday. It’s the service’s first price increase ever, according to a spokesperson. The new pricing will go into effect on May 1 for new subscribers, while existing members will see [...]

  • StyleHaul

    StyleHaul Shuts Down U.S. Operations, Lays Off About 65 Employees

    The axe is falling on StyleHaul: The fashion, beauty and lifestyle digital media and marketing company owned by RTL Group is shuttering U.S. operations, resulting the layoff of around 65 employees. StyleHaul offices in L.A., with about 55 employees, and in New York City, with around 10 staffers, are closing. RTL said StyleHaul’s U.K. operations, [...]

  • Bandsintown Platform Acquires Hypebot, MusicThinkTank

    Bandsintown Platform Acquires Hypebot, MusicThinkTank

    Bandsintown, a leading platform for letting music fans know about upcoming concerts by their favorite artists, has acquired Hypebot, a news site publishing stories about the music industry and technology, and its sister site MusicThinkTank. “I’m proud to share that Hypebot and MusicThinkTank have been acquired by Bandsintown,” wrote Bruce Houghton, the founder of the [...]

  • Star-Wars-The-Clone-Wars

    Netflix Will Lose Disney's 'Star Wars: The Clone Wars,' James Bond Movies in April 2019

    More Disney content is about to roll off Netflix: The 2008 “Star Wars: The Clone Wars” animated movie as well as six seasons of the subsequent “Clone Wars” series are among the titles set to leave the streaming service next month. According to Netflix, the original Lucasfilm movie along with “Star Wars: The Clone Wars” [...]

  • Vertigo Games Believes ‘Location-Based Virtual Reality’

    Vertigo Games Believes ‘Location-Based Virtual Reality’ Is Future of VR

    As virtual reality becomes more and more available, many developers are looking for new frontiers to expand the experiences offered by the tech. For Netherlands-based Vertigo Games, that next frontier is what they call “location-based virtual reality.” It’s essentially high-quality VR experiences where players aren’t tethered to a PC or even to the confines of [...]

  • GDC 2019: Google's Play For Gaming

    GDC 2019: Google's Play for Gaming Ubiquity, Rise of Ray Tracing, Store Wars

    The Game Developers Conference finished up Friday evening, wrapping one of the most exciting GDCs in recent memory with Google’s splashy entrance into AAA video gaming, the emergence of real-time ray tracing as a compelling technology for film, TV, and games, and the growing war between two global estore powerhouses: Valve’s Steam and the Epic [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content