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kingfish
Volunteer Moderator

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

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.”

Microsoft said an attacker 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.

Some computers will get the fix automatically, if they have the automatic update option turned on. Others can get it manually by going to Windows Update 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.

The agency shared the vulnerability with Microsoft “quickly and responsibly,” Neal Ziring, technical director of the NSA's cybersecurity directorate, said in a blog post 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.

Those changes happened after a mysterious group calling itself the “Shadow Brokers” released a trove of high-level hacking tools stolen from the NSA, forcing companies including Microsoft 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.

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

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13 Replies

Recall the Lenovo BIOS nonsense a few years ago. There was also a case of a stolen certificate from a Taiwan plastics company too. Open source solutions have also been analyzed.

KB4528760 – HARDCORE GAMES™ 

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But how can this be? I thought Windows 10 protected us from everything from cold and flu's to an alien invasion?

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I haven't had a cold or flu since installing driver version 19.12.1....I did get abducted once when I tried the 20.1.2

bearcat22 wrote:

But how can this be? I thought Windows 10 protected us from everything from cold and flu's to an alien invasion?

I spend a lot of time with security in the shop.

I also work a lot with hardware so I have a lot of background skill which is why I am well liked here.

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?

And that has what to do with Windows patching a security issue?

Google has been successful at fending off some of the problems with holes in the sandbox.

Recall the black hole sites that used to install malicious packages galore. Those have been blocked by Windows 10 and the security features it has.

Users of older versions of Windows are still being hit with ransomware. Recently a telemarketing company was hit and 500 people lost their jobs. Some ransomware is sent in attachments to spam messages which are prey upon gullibility.

https://www.msspalert.com/cybersecurity-breaches-and-attacks/ransomware/new-orleans-cost-7-million/ 

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You should have stopped at "?"  LOL

john007
Exemplar

Its a scam, its already an NSA backdoor, it was just leaked out and abused.

Windows 10 is a backdoor, open for business. 

john007 wrote:

Its a scam, its already an NSA backdoor, it was just leaked out and abused.

 

Windows 10 is a backdoor, open for business. 

windows is very secure, government agencies use it and there are legal implications galore under the FIPS etc

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tarikkun
Adept I

nah these security patches are too often, i remember something happened like that months ago... nothing hacked me yet

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tarikkun wrote:

nah these security patches are too often, i remember something happened like that months ago... nothing hacked me yet

I suspect that contrary to most ill informed that Linux is carefully checked to be safe for servers etc

The NSA has done much to identify problems like heartbleed and the more recent TLS faults which are all fixed 

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