"Unfortunately, since everyone uses the same technology in today's global economy, each of these vulnerabilities also represents a threat to American businesses and individuals", Daniel Castro, vice president of the Information Technology and Innovation Foundation, said in a blog post in March.
Despite the indication that the NSA notified Microsoft of the vulnerabilities contained in the leaks, some technical experts expressed doubts that the NSA always follows this rule when necessary. But, not every company installs the latest patches as the company has released a few bad apples in the past that have done more damage than good thus resulting in IT Pros delaying the rollout of updates. Microsoft hasn't specified how it identified the issues and managed to fix them all before the flaws reached the Internet. The group has released several collections of documents about the internal operations of the NSA, and the code it allegedly has used to compromise computers and other devices worldwide.
But even the SKUs for which Microsoft has issued updates may be vulnerable if customers have not applied the fixes.
It was possible that the local messaging systems of some SWIFT client banks had been breached, SWIFT said in a statement, which did not specifically mention the NSA. They were leaked at the GitHub repository on Friday afternoon by "The Shadow Brokers", a covert group that previously auctioned off such tools in past leaks over the previous year.
Cisco is the only company that makes ASA firewalls, according to a Cisco employee who spoke on condition of anonymity. Microsoft said that the patches have been fixed for anyone running Windows 7 and beyond - meaning that if you're a Windows XP holdout, you are still vulnerable.
Microsoft late on Friday said it had determined that prior patches to dozens of software versions had fixed the flaws that apparently were exploited by nine of the NSA programs.
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"Additionally, Microsoft said the other remaining exploits "EnglishmanDentist", EsteemAudit", and "ExplodingCan" can not be reproduced on supported versions of Windows - Windows 7 and later - and customers are advised to upgrade their versions to a supported platform as soon as possible.
Microsoft declined to say how it learned of the exploits without outside help.
"Most of the exploits that were disclosed fall into vulnerabilities that are already patched in our supported products", Phillip Misner, a group manager in the Microsoft Security Response Center (MSRC), wrote in a post to a company blog.
The former official stated that it is government policy not to confirm whether the stolen data belonged to the NSA, and he could not confirm or deny whether any outreach has taken place to warn vendors of vulnerabilities. The allegation is that third parties - known as Swift Service Bureaus - that provide access to Swift's network were targeted by the NSA, rather than Swift itself.
The US intelligence agency then used lines of code to query the SWIFT servers and Oracle databases handling the SWIFT transactions, according to the documents.