After ransomware attacks paralyzed computers across the world today, including some at hospitals throughout England, experts including Spain’s National Cryptology Center, said the hacks were carried out with the help of a Windows vulnerability documented in NSA documents leaked by the mysterious Shadow Brokers hacker group.
The group mysteriously appeared last year and leaked NSA files, including previously unknown security holes. Security experts have speculated that the group is connected with the Russian government, though that’s yet to be proven. (There is so far no indication the Shadow Brokers are directly related to today’s ransomware attack, which could have been launched by anyone who studied the leaked material.) And although Microsoft released a fix for the affected vulnerability before the leak, Friday’s ransomware attack will likely lead to renewed criticism of spy agencies for stockpiling security data that could put businesses and even lives at risk.