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Leaked NSA exploits plant a bull's-eye on Windows Server

Friday’s release of suspected NSA spying tools is bad news for companies running Windows Server. The cyberweapons, which are now publicly available, can easily hack older versions of the OS.  

The Shadow Brokers, a mysterious hacking group, leaked the files online, setting off worries that cybercriminals will incorporate them in their own hacks.  

“This leak basically puts nation-state tools into the hands of anyone who wants them,” said Matthew Hickey, the director of security provider Hacker House.

He’s been among the researchers looking over the files and has found they contain about 20 different Windows-based exploits — four of which appear to leverage previously unknown software vulnerabilities.

Each exploit works as a program that takes advantage of a security flaw. Researchers are still examining the leaked files, but the exploits appear to work on older Windows versions including NT, XP and Windows 7.

However, computers running Windows Server are particularly at risk, Hickey said. That’s because the exploits are generally designed to leverage vulnerabilities in a machine’s online server functions.  

Hickey found that one such exploit included in the leak, called Eternalblue, can remotely cause older versions of Windows to execute code. In a video , he demonstrated this against a machine running Windows Server 2008 R2 SP1 and pulled off the hack in less than two minutes.

“An attacker can use these tools to effectively hack into Windows computers around the world and run their own code for attacks,” he said.

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