Microsoft has stated the Windows exploits the Shadow group released have already been patched. It is likely the hacking tools came from the NSA and were just released online. Microsoft confirmed and tested the patches that are now available for the versions of Windows that are currently supported. The older versions of Windows such as Windows Vista and Windows XP are not necessarily specifically vulnerable to the three exploits that were released. It is however, now unlikely that Microsoft will supply any patches for the unsupported and older versions of Windows.
The response from Microsoft was released just hours after all the unnecessary fear projected from the security researchers was made known. Of the numerous researchers involved in the issue there was one whose advice to Windows was to turn off all their machines for the entire weekend. Edward Snowden is one of the NSA whistleblowers. He gave his opinion on the events and claimed that Microsoft received absolutely no warning from NSA regarding the exploits that were unfortunately leaked. Microsoft has given the impression that their company received no warnings from the NSA. A statement was made by a spokesperson from Microsoft to Reuters. They claim that other than the reporters no organization or individual has contacted them regarding any of the materials Shadow Brokers released.
There was one security researcher who is claiming it is possible the NSA did report at least some of the bugs to Microsoft. Although Microsoft has acknowledged the source responsible for the reports detailing the security flaws they have not yet acknowledged any patches being issued in the last month to repair the NSA exploits that were leaked.
The possibility that a group, individual or the Shadow Brokers themselves did top Microsoft in advance regarding the exploits must be considered. There was a rather mysterious delay employed by Microsoft that delayed the release of their patch in February by an entire month. The move by Microsoft was unprecedented and the company blamed their actions on an issue that occurred at the very last minute. The Microsoft patch that finally went through in March contained all the fixes necessary for the leaks caused by the NSA exploits. If our post Patriot Act government wasn’t so obsessed with spying on random citizens, this NSA software wouldn’t exist and hence these types of problems wouldn’t occur.
In either case if your computer is currently running Windows 7 or anything above you are safe from the latest exploits. This is provided you have already applied all the current updates available from Windows Update. If your computer is still running Windows Vista, Windows XP or any prior system you should consider replacing your system with something more current. The older systems are susceptible to these security flaws and since they are unpatched they can be exploited.
One of the first journalists on this story was Daniel Keem (Buffalo,NY based journalist and founder of DramaAlert). For his input, we have embedded his coverage below: