Microsoft Releases Large Update After WannaCry Event

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Microsoft issued a large Windows update days after the WannaCry malware pandemic infected thousands of computers and led to a huge wave of Windows users updating their OSs to close the SMBv1 exploit left open by Windows until March when a leak of NSA intel made the vulnerability, as well as the NSAs exploit tool, public.

The update was unusually large, taking over an hour on some computers.

Most noticeable changes after the update: Microsoft adds a mail icon to the toolbar (currently, more people use Google for mail); OneDrive is added to the tools menu; Windows Defender Security Center also added to toolbar. In “Apps & Features,” Microsoft OneConnect (paid Wi-Fi cellular) is added.” Techies have recommended the removal of OneConnect, which has been part of Windows “Pre-Installed Apps” for a while.

It also “installs” apps that you already have installed, so it is more difficult to find what things Microsoft actually added when you update. However, Windows installed a lot of new apps (their own) in this update.

Microsoft removed the option to set the program to open types of files with. Now, it only opens automatically with Windows new file viewing apps. (This can be corrected by going to “Default Apps” in Start Menu and selecting apps for media types.)

Microsoft Blaming NSA for WannaCry Malware Pandemic

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Microsoft President Brad Smith complained that various governments “stockpile vulnerabilities.”

In other words, governments and agencies find weaknesses in technology and then keep that information to themselves in case they want to use it.

Smith said the current WannaCry malware event was a very rare one, combining a piece of very sophisticated software (to do the exploit) with a simpler piece (to do the ransom), conducted by a criminal organization.

To accusations Microsoft didn’t do enough to alert people about the danger, Smith said, “Microsoft has the first responsibility.” He called it a “wake-up call for us,” and that “we should all learn from this.”

In response to questions about whether the NSA told Microsoft they had a tool that exploited the vulnerability, Smith said, “I don’t want to go into the specifics about how we learned this particular problem, or by whom or when. It is a public record that we provided a patch in March. There wasn’t a public statement until April.

“But what I think is also important: We need the global community to come together.”

Everyone Needs to Update their Windows ASAP, or Risk Being Locked Out of Their Computers, Security Experts Say

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The WannaCry virus that shut down the UK health system this week is still making its rounds. It has now reached 150 countries and is continuing to spread.

It is expected that the hackers behind the ransomware will update it Monday, so it will be even more dangerous.

Computer security experts say that everyone should update their Windows OS, and back up all their data, because the virus is one that doesn’t even need computer users to click anything; it is making its way around the internet searching for Windows that aren’t updated. There is a known vulnerability in Windows that was exposed by an FBI data leak earlier this year. It seems hackers have based WannaCry on this known Windows vulnerability.

When a computer gets infected, all the data on it is encrypted and the owner no longer can access their files until they pay $300 in Bitcoin.