Microsoft played a great PR game over the last few days. They managed to deflect responsibility for the WannaCrypt ransomware global outbreak and even make the company look like the victim.
Make no mistake, the main responsibility for the WannaCrypt trouble lies with Microsoft. Some blame can be directed to the US Intelligence agencies and maybe the North Korean government but that’s minor compared to the main culprit.
Dropping a mention of the CIA and NSA’s part in discovering the Windows bug created a lot of headlines that made the US Government look bad and suggested Microsoft as a helpless victim.
Microsoft is responsible for Windows
WannaCrypt was possible because of a long-standing security bug in Windows. The Windows bug allowed WannaCrypt ransomware to infect computers and encrypt the contents.
The WannaCrypt exploit has been in Windows at least 16 years, probably a lot longer, without being found.
Microsoft is responsible for creating and maintaining Windows, period.
There’s been over 15 years of security bugs that Microsoft has to fix and update to great cost to customers. Despite all that time and money, we’re getting a seemingly endless stream of fixes for long-standing bugs.
Microsoft boasts about the money and staff they devote to security issues. But they could be spending a lot less if the company had taken computer security seriously long before 2002.
Windows XP update for ransomware
Microsoft moved quickly to release a WannaCrypt ransomware update for older versions of Windows that they don’t support anymore.
It was a smart move. It deflected some complaints about WannaCrypt ransomware spreading because of old Windows that could not be protected.
There’s a big financial incentive for Redmond to ‘cut off’ support for older products.
Stopping support for older Windows or Office forces customers to buy more Microsoft products. Arbitrary obsolescence is a big money spinner for Microsoft and other software companies.
Sure, there are valid reasons for Microsoft to stop supporting older versions of their products but don’t forget the company’s bottom line also benefits.