‘Critical issue’ requires update

By Katie Ritchie

 

Do you use Windows 10? You may need to update your computer.

The NSA alerted Microsoft to a vulnerability. The software giant released a patch to fix it Jan. 14. The NSA and Microsoft do not believe the “especially critical” issue was exploited.

Without the update, Windows 10 could allow hackers to breach targeted computer networks.

The timing is critical. Jan. 14 was also the date Microsoft ended support for the Windows 7 operating system.

“We are recommending that network owners expedite the patch immediately,” said Anne Neuberger, chief of the NSA’s new cybersecurity directorate. She claims the NSA alerted Microsoft as soon as the issue was discovered.

In the past, NSA hackers have uncovered errors in software. They retained the information to weaponize it. They used the intel and tools offensively against hostile foreign militaries.

Neuberger said publicly sharing that they had found and reported the Microsoft flaw was a first. She told the Wall Street Journal the NSA seeks to balance missions of cybersecurity and foreign intelligence. They hope to make a philosophical shift at the agency.

Not sure if your computer is safe?

Open the Windows menu and open Settings. From the Windows Settings screen select Update & Security. If your computer is up to date it will say “You’re up to date” at the top of the page. It will list the date and time the computer last checked for updates. To manually check for updates, click the gray Check for Updates button.

If updates are available, there will be a list of needed updates and a gray Download button for each one you need.