• Shopping Cart
  • Contact Us
  • Select a Location
    Close Location Selection

    Current Location:

    Let us know the location you'd like to browse.

    Select a Location
    OR
  • View Cart

NSA finds major security flaw in Windows 10, free fix issued

By MATT O'BRIEN, AP

The National Security Agency has discovered a major security flaw in Microsoft's Windows 10 operating system that could let hackers intercept seemingly secure communications.

But rather than exploit the flaw for its own intelligence needs, the NSA tipped off Microsoft so that it can fix the system for everyone.

Microsoft released a free software patch to fix the flaw Tuesday and credited the intelligence agency for discovering it. The company said it has not seen any evidence that hackers have used the technique.

Amit Yoran, CEO of security firm Tenable, said it is “exceptionally rare if not unprecedented” for the U.S. government to share its discovery of such a critical vulnerability with a company.

Yoran, who was a founding director of the Department of Homeland Security's computer emergency readiness team, urged all organizations to prioritize patching their systems quickly.

An advisory sent by the NSA on Tuesday said “the consequences of not patching the vulnerability are severe and widespread.”

could exploit the vulnerability by spoofing a code-signing certificate so it looked like a file came from a trusted source.

"The user would have no way of knowing the file was malicious, because the digital signature would appear to be from a trusted provider," the company said.

If successfully exploited, attackers would have been able to conduct "man-in-the-middle attacks" and decrypt confidential information they intercept on user connections, the company said.

“The biggest risk is to secure communications,” said Adam Meyers, vice president of intelligence for security firm CrowdStrike.

in the computer's settings.

Microsoft typically releases security and other updates once a month and waited until Tuesday to disclose the flaw and the NSA's involvement. Microsoft and the NSA both declined to say when the agency privately notified the company.

Tuesday.

Priscilla Moriuchi, who retired from the NSA in 2017 after running its East Asia and Pacific operations, said this is a good example of the “constructive role” that the NSA can play in improving global information security. Moriuchi, now an analyst at the U.S. cybersecurity firm Recorded Future, said it’s likely a reflection of changes made in 2017 to how the U.S. determines whether to disclose a major vulnerability or exploit it for intelligence purposes.

The revamping of what’s known as the “Vulnerability Equities Process” put more emphasis on disclosing vulnerabilities whenever possible to protect core internet systems and the U.S. economy and general public.

to repair their systems. The U.S. believes that North Korea and Russia were able to capitalize on those stolen hacking tools to unleash devastating global cyberattacks.

Copyright 2020 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Headlines

Please Wait...