Windows users urged to install latest updates following NSA hacking leak

Hackers reveal how NSA breached global money transfer system

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Software giant Microsoft has sought to reassure its users following the release of multiple exploit programmes purportedly stolen from the archives of the US National Security Agency (NSA), claiming that the vast majority have always been patched and the remainders unexploitable on the latest Windows releases.

Clare Baldwin and Joseph Menn write that Comae Technologies Founder Matt Suiche indicated in the company's analysis of the documents that NSA utilized vulnerabilities in Microsoft software and Cisco firewalls to gain entry through Middle Eastern and Latin American transfer service providers. 'Of the three remaining exploits, "EnglishmanDentist", "EsteemAudit", and "ExplodingCan", none reproduces on supported platforms, which means that customers running Windows 7 and more recent versions of Windows or Exchange 2010 and newer versions of Exchange are not at risk, ' explained Microsoft's Phillip Misner, of the company's Security Response Centre, in an announcement on the matter.

The report said SWIFT transfers are a "natural" target for intelligence agencies in efforts to track the flow of money that funds terrorist and criminal groups. Microsoft appears as to imply itself that the NSA had not warned it over the exploits being released.

Data released by the Shadow Brokers claimed the Russian Federal Nuclear Center's website was also compromised by the NSA.

However, grugq, a security researcher claims NSA might have reported some of the exploits themselves.

The leaks from last week shared information about "zero-day exploits", or vulnerabilities that are exploited on the same day they are discovered.

Quite possibly the Shadow Brokers or another organization or individual had tipped off Microsoft of the ahead of time.

The patch for March included fixes for the leaked exploits. In total, nine vulnerabilities - targeted by tools codenamed EternalBlue, EmeraldThread, EternalChampion, ErraticGopher, EskimoRoll, EternalRomance, EducatedScholar, EternalSynergy, and EclipsedWing - have been resolved by standard security updates from 2008 onwards.

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