New Windows XP Security Patches Protect Against State-Sanctioned Cyberattacks

This week, Microsoft announced an urgent security patch for Windows XP and Windows Vista and urged customers running those versions of its operating system, as well as more recent versions to update their software in order to prevent cyber attacks.

Of course, a precedent had already been set because Microsoft patched Windows XP against WannaCry when the ransomware broke out in rampant and high-profile fashion last month.

Microsoft's Adrienne Hall, General Manager of the Cyber Defense Operations Center, cited an "elevated risk of cyberattacks by government organizations, sometimes referred to as nation-state actors, or other copycat organizations".

"Our decision today to release these security updates for platforms not in extended support should not be viewed as a departure from our standard servicing policies", states Doerr.

Microsoft has stated that some vulnerabilities posed elevated risks of "cyber attacks by government organisations".

Based on Insider feedback, we have changed "Phone Update" to "Windows Update" under Settings Update & security. Updates will be automatically available for Windows 10, Windows 8.1, Windows 7 and Windows Server releases after 2008. ZDI noted that while the new Microsoft patch touches different parts of code, the exploit vector remains the same, with remote code execution occurring if a specially crafted shortcut is displayed. Microsoft patched multiple SMB vulnerabilities in its March 2017 Patch Tuesday update, including issues that enabled WannaCry.

This story, "Microsoft resurrects Windows XP patches for second month straight" was originally published by Computerworld.

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This was possible, it later emerged, because the NSA informed Microsoft about the leak of the exploits. Newer OSes, and in particular Windows 10, are outfitted with advanced security features not found in previous versions of Windows. In addition, at 6 percent of organizations, more than half of their computers use outdated operating systems.

Some 7 percent of PCs are thought to still run XP despite it being three years out of date.

So many users and organisations were still so stuck in the XP rut that Microsoft relented just a few weeks later, publishing yet another "goodbye, farewell and Amen" update for XP at the start of the next month.

"The best protection is to be on a modern, up-to-date system that incorporates the latest innovations".

Yesterday, we told you about a new round of security patches heading out to Windows XP.

Microsoft also used the malware as an opportunity to plug for Microsoft Edge, its semifunctional non-browser that's good for maximizing battery life and not much else.


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