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United States should not stockpile cyber weapons, Microsoft says

21 May 2017

"We have seen vulnerabilities stored by the CIA show up on WikiLeaks, and now this vulnerability stolen from the (US) National Security Agency has affected customers around the world".

The company said the United States government kept information about Windows vulnerabilities which later got stolen and used to spread the WannaCry ransomware which has swept the world this weekend.

The nasty and huge "ransomware" attack that seized computers worldwide on Friday is set to have a second wave.

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In an Unprecedented move Microsoft pushed out a security patch update to curb the spread of Ransomware Attack for the Unsupported versions of Windows XP, Windows 8 and Windows Server 2003 Operating Systems. He adds that governments should report vulnerabilities like the one at the center of the WannaCry attack.

"This is an emerging pattern in 2017", Smith says in a Microsoft company blog post.

"We have seen vulnerabilities stored by the Central Intelligence Agency show up on WikiLeaks, and now this vulnerability stolen from the NSA has affected customers around the world", wrote Smith. The computing giant said software vulnerabilities hoarded by governments had caused "widespread damage", the BBC reported. Experts say that the malware will continue to spread and the most vulnerable computer systems would be those that run the Windows XP platform. "Until this weekend's attack, Microsoft declined to officially confirm this, as US Gov refused to confirm or deny this was their exploit", wrote NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden in a tweet.

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Problems with cyber security in NHS organisations were highlighted past year by Dame Fiona Caldicott, the national data guardian, who warned that issues were given insufficient priority and that health bodies persisted in using obsolete computer systems, The Times said.

Smith argued that in cyberspace, governments should apply rules like those regarding weapons in the physical world.

Internet users globally, are under threat of a massive cyber-attack identified last week that is spreading, and Zimbabwe is no exception.

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As part of precautionary measures, banks did not operate some ATMs running on old software in view of threat from ransomware "WannaCry". "We should take from this recent attack a renewed determination for more urgent collective action". It notes that there is an increase in the cybersecurity and it becoming a shared responsibility of the tech companies and customers, such that the former relies on the latter, thereby keeping their critical systems updated, identical as people rely on companies to put out secure systems.

United States should not stockpile cyber weapons, Microsoft says