Microsoft Says It Has Patched Leaked NSA Hacks

18 April, 2017, 01:56 | Author: Kristi Walker

As promised, the Shadow Brokers dumped a series of Windows hacking tools, some of which they put up for sale in a public auction last December and January.

Did the company buy the access from Shadow Brokers directly or did NSA tip off Microsoft?

The leaked tools attempt to exploit vulnerabilities that have already been patched, Microsoft says in a statement, so if you bring your system fully up to date, there's no chance hackers can hijack your system.

One of SWIFT's service bureaus, the Dubai-based EastNets, which was allegedly among those hacked, strongly rejected the claims as "totally false and unfounded". However, according to security researcher Nicholas Weaver of the International Computer Science Institute, the methods in the documents show the NSA was going beyond its "official access".

But the contents of the leak appeared to suggest otherwise. The release was accompanied by the message "Don't forget your base".

NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden even chimed in on the claims that EastNet weren't compromised, with the official Twitter page to EastNet responding to the situation tweeting "No credibility to the online claim of a compromise of EastNets customer information on its SWIFT service bureau". The exploits, which focus on multiple versions of Microsoft's Windows operating system, are extremely effective - and, worryingly, don't require extensive technical knowledge to use.

In a break with tradition, Microsoft did not credit the person who reported the SMB flaw to the company.

At the same time, that update marked the first time that Microsoft significantly delayed its Patch Tuesday update because of a "last-minute issue".

Microsoft triaged a large release of exploits made publicly available by Shadow Brokers. Understandingly, customers have expressed concerns around the risk this disclosure potentially creates.

But that wasn't the case, and Misner said Saturday that "most of the exploits are already patched".

Swift was successfully targeted by hackers a year ago when criminals stole $81m from the Bangladeshi central bank.

That cyberattack was likely the work of the North Korean government, according to the Russian cybersecurity company Kaspersky Lab ZAO.

SWIFT is used by banks in the transfer trillions of dollars each day.

The Shadow Brokers' leaks indicate that the NSA infiltrated a Dubai company that helps manage transactions in the worldwide bank messaging system Swift.

SWIFT said in a statement that the allegations involve only its service bureaus and not its own network. EastNets has said it has found no evidence its systems were compromised.

There are three additional exploits not addressed by the aforementioned patches, though MS notes that they're not capable of reproducing on machines running Windows 7 and above or recent versions of Exchange.

No one has yet discovered the identity of Shadow Brokers, or of the hackers that gained access to the NSA materials.

On Twitter, Snowden described it as the "Mother Of All Exploits" - a reference to a bomb recently used by the U.S. military in Afghanistan.

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