Last week, the security community was in a flurry around the disclosure of a severe vulnerability (known as CVE-2020-0601) in Microsoft’s Windows operating system. Notably, it was because the National Security Agency (NSA) tipped off Microsoft, helping the tech giant patch the flaw instead of exploiting it for national security missions. NSA was praised for its cultural shift from offense to defense, however, in my opinion, not all that glitters is gold.
Most weeks, it is far outside the normal job responsibilities for cybersecurity professionals to understand what the United States (or other governments) do to find or use computer vulnerabilities. Just stay patched and keep the board of directors happy. This is not one of those weeks.
This week we learned that the National Security Agency disclosed to Microsoft that it had discovered a major vulnerability (dubbed CVE-2020-0601) in Windows 10. A Washington Post article, by veteran cyber journalist Ellen Nakashima, declared this to be a “a major shift in the NSA’s approach, choosing to put computer security ahead of building up its arsenal of hacking tools that allow the agency to spy on adversaries’ networks.”