Hi-Tech

Microsoft calls for 'urgent collective action' after major global cyberattack

Microsoft calls for 'urgent collective action' after major global cyberattack

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

A ransomware attack hit over 150 countries on Friday, infecting 200,000 computers and even crippling the United Kingdom's National Health Service.

"An equivalent scenario with conventional weapons would be the USA military having some of its Tomahawk missiles stolen", Smith wrote. The so-called WannaCry Ransomware attack targets vulnerable Windows operating systems in mostly Europe and Asia, though some North American businesses and users were also affected.

Microsoft therefore took the highly unusual step to release an update for Windows XP users and urge them to update their software (if possible) as soon as possible.

Mr Smith argued that in cyberspace, governments should apply rules like those regarding weapons in the physical world. As part of the Digital Geneva Convention, Smith called for "a new requirement for governments to report vulnerabilities to vendors, rather than stockpile, sell, or exploit them".




He said tech companies, customers and the government need to "work together" to protect against attacks.

A red-coloured critical alert has been issued in connection with the WannaCry attack that hit over 90,000 systems across 75 countries across the world including India.

Microsoft President Brad Smith said Sunday that the United States government's approach to cybersecurity is risky and contributed to a major global cyberattack last week. It was released to the web by hacker group Shadow Brokers to Github, but it's unclear if the WannaCrypt hackers used the stolen NSA information to launch WannaCrypt.

When the National Security Agency lost control of the software behind the WannaCry cyberattack, it was like "the US 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. That way, if your machine gets infected and your photos and documents are encrypted, you don't need to worry about losing them. This particular ransomware program, the Telegraphreports, locks up all data on a computer's operating system except a file with instructions for the user and the malicious software.

"If anyone pays this ransom they are more than likely going to send Bitcoin that will sit in an address for ever more". These exploits were made public earlier this year and Microsoft quickly responded by patching the versions of Windows it still supports. The ransomware exploits a vulnerability in Microsoft Windows XP, which the company had stopped actively supporting in 2014.


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