The National Security Agency (NSA) has joined forces with Microsoft in urging Windows PC users to update their operating systems. This follows the discovery of a “wormable” vulnerability in Remote Desktop Services for Windows, which could lead to malware similar to the WannaCry ransomware incident in 2017 that had caused billions of dollars in damage all over the globe.
According to a report from Business Insider, the bug, which is called “BlueKeep,” could affect older versions of Windows operating systems, such as Windows 7, Windows XP, and Server 2003 and 2008. Just like in the case of the WannaCry ransomware, the BlueKeep could flow across the internet without the need for the user to interact with malicious links and other elements.
The Software giant first revealed about the bug last month through a patch release on their blog. At the time, Microsoft did not disclose much information about the vulnerability. Around 7 million devices were initially estimated by the company that had been affected by the bug. Later, it came down to 1 million after Robert Graham did some further research on the said incident.
“Our recommendation remains the same. We strongly advise that all affected systems should be updated as soon as possible,” the software company insisted.
The BlueKeep, also known as CVE-2019-0708, is a “critical” bug that can be used to run arbitrary code, allowing a third party to steal data and spy on users.
With this, the U.S. National Security Agency has now come forward and joined forces with Microsoft in urging PC users to update their Windows operating system and install security patched. On his social media account, NSA’s cybersecurity official Rob Joyce said, “NSA is raising their own concern that the Microsoft RDP flaw (#BlueKeep) is of significant risk to unpatched systems.”
In a blog post published on Wednesday, the agency further explained.
“This is the type of vulnerability that malicious cyber actors frequently exploit through the use of software code that specifically targets the vulnerability. For example, the vulnerability could be exploited to conduct denial of service attacks. It is likely only a matter of time before the remote exploitation code is widely available for this vulnerability. NSA is concerned that malicious cyber actors will use the vulnerability in ransomware and exploit kits containing other known exploits, increasing capabilities against other unpatched systems.”
Several security companies have already come forward, including McAfee and Check Point, in developing proof-of-concept code to counter the bug. However, both Microsoft and the NSA remain to urge PC users as hackers could be close to creating code that could lead to another major ransomware attack.