Would Banning Russia From Getting Software Updates Make It Easier To Hack?

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Hacking. Disinformation. Surveillance. CYBER is Motherboard’s podcast and reporting on the dark underbelly of the internet.

Ukraine’s government asked the U.S. government to take several actions to retaliate against the Russian government for the invasion of its neighboring country on Thursday, including cutting off U.S. software updates.

In a list of “suggested actions” sent to President Joe Biden’s administration, the government of Volodymyr Zelenskyy asked for “a ban on the supply of any goods, including hardware and software,” as well as “a ban on the supply of any goods and technologies, incl. Software used in sectors of the Russian aviation industry, incl. in civil aviation,” and “a ban on U.S. companies supplying and updating software in the interests of Russian consumers.” 

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The list was first reported by Reuters journalist Raphael Satter, who later wrote in an article that the list was circulated to American officials. 

The White House, and the Treasury Department did not immediately respond to a request for comment. 

“We don’t speak to allegedly leaked documents,” A spokesperson for the State Department said in an email to Motherboard. “The President will be speaking today to lay out additional elements of our response.”

The ban on software updates, specifically, captured the attention of cybersecurity experts. One of the most basic pieces of advice for consumers and companies is to make sure all software is updated to the latest

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