Putin Jabs NSA For Letting The Ransomware "Genies Out Of The Bottle"
Following the worldwide "Wanna Cry" cyber attack that was launched last Friday and quickly spread to thousands of computers, Vladimir Putin took a jab at the NSA for authoring tools that "may harm their own authors and creators" should the "genies be let out of the bottle." Per The Hill:
"We are fully aware that the genies, in particular, those created by secret services, may harm their own authors and creators, should they be let out of the bottle."
“Microsoft’s management has made it clear that the virus originated from US intelligence services."
For those who haven't followed the story closely, the outbreak of the virus, dubbed WannaCry, began last Friday. According to cybersecurity experts, and subsequently confirmed by Microsoft, the WannaCry virus is based on an NSA-developed tool that was leaked to the public by a group called Shadow Brokers. The virus, which is ravaging computer networks worldwide, encrypts user files and demands a ransom in cryptocurrency Bitcoin to release them.
Microsoft, which has criticized the American spy agencies for their alleged role in creating the situation, released a patch for its no longer supported Windows XP operating system to prevent computers still running it from being infected. The tech company patched a vulnerability in its newer supported software last month after the leak was made public, but operating systems that were not updated are still vulnerable.
Meanwhile, Microsoft President and Chief Legal Officer Brad Smith, blasted "the stockpiling of vulnerabilities by governments" which then get leaked into the public domain as equivalent to the "U.S. military having some of its Tomahawk missiles stolen."
“We have seen vulnerabilities stored by the CIA show up on WikiLeaks, and now this vulnerability stolen from the NSA has affected customers around the world,” Microsoft President and Chief Legal Officer Brad Smith wrote in a blog post this afternoon. “This attack provides yet another example of why the stockpiling of vulnerabilities by governments is such a problem.”
"Repeatedly, exploits in the hands of governments have leaked into the public domain and caused widespread damage" Smith wrote, adding that an "an equivalent scenario with conventional weapons would be the U.S. military having some of its Tomahawk missiles stolen. And 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."