Security concerned Windows users were caught slightly off-guard after a hacker group released documents stolen from the American National Security Agency. The documents detailed a series of zero-day exploits that were being used by the intelligence agency to spy on computer users; although Microsoft has explained that the exploits were nothing new and had already been patched.
The issue began after the Shadow Brokers group released a data dump detailing the capabilities of the NSA. While it was largely focused on the American ability to spy on financial transactions through the SWIFT network, there were portions that had security experts warning people against booting their computers over the weekend.
However, Microsoft has tested the exploits released and concluded that they had already been patched in all supported versions of Windows. At the moment, that only applies to Windows 7, 8.1, and 10. Considering that support of Windows Vista ended last week.
Microsoft has also implied that nobody warned it about the zero-day exploits, leaving the company to find and patch them alone. While it may not surprise anyone that the spy agency decided to keep the information to itself, concealing the vulnerability is an act against guidelines set down by the Obama administration that required all government agencies to disclose this sort of thing.
Still, all this means is that Microsoft has managed to get ahead of any hackers who were planning on using the exploits. Provided that Windows users have been dutifully patching their machines on a regular basis.
[Source: The Verge]