East Africa News Post

Complete News World

A Microsoft engineer accidentally prevented a cyberattack that would have put computers around the world at risk

A Microsoft engineer accidentally prevented a cyberattack that would have put computers around the world at risk

Photograph: David Sillitoe/The Guardian

Anders Freund, a German engineer at Microsoft, accidentally noticed something strange in some software he was working on and discovered that a hacker was trying to gain access to computers around the world, he recently reported on the social microblogging network Mastodon.

The 38-year-old engineer, who lives in San Francisco (California), discovered a “backdoor” – a computer term that refers to a secret entrance used as a remote control device for malicious purposes – in a piece of software that is part of the Linux operating system.

According to experts, this backdoor could have made way for a major cyberattack that would have caused significant damage, if successful.

Following its discovery, the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) warned that the backdoor (CVE-2024-3094) exists in versions 5.6.0 and 5.6.1 of a data tool called XZ Utils, and recommended that until it is fixed, users and developers will use an older version. .

Linux is one of the most important open source operating systems in the world, and is used by the vast majority of the world's servers in banks, hospitals, companies, and governments.

This engineering feat was praised by Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella, who highlighted on his social networks that “Andris Freund, with his curiosity and skill, was able to help us all.”

“Safety is a team sport, and this is the culture we need everywhere,” Nadella noted.

It is not known who created the backdoor and what support it had, but according to the New York Times, the plan was so complex that some researchers are convinced it could only have been attempted by a country with formidable skills in designing cyber attacks. Like Russia or China.

See also  Telegram founder warns: stay away from WhatsApp

Evie