Microsoft Discloses WannaCry Ransomware Vulnerability for Windows XP

Although five years have passed since Microsoft announced that Windows XP users will no longer have tech support, it would appear that they haven’t given up on this old-timer.

In fact, according to a recent statement, XP users are urged to update their OS to the latest version. This announcement came soon after Microsoft discovered a bug that could leave machines running XP vulnerable to ransomware-type attacks.

Why did it take them so long to figure it out?

Released in 2001, Windows XP remains one of the most used and popular operating systems of all time. With over 3.6 million machines running XP, one could say that the stakes are quite high considering that XP has fallen behind security updates.

That would be an understatement, to say the least. The last official update, which contained several security features, was released in early April 2014, around the same time the company announced that tech support can no longer be provided for this type of operating system.

Users were either encouraged to download and install the latest version or to migrate to the more modern Windows 10. And so, after five years of utter silence, it would seem that XP sprung back to life. Unfortunately, it’s not the kind of attention it was hoping for in the first place.

According to a Microsoft spokesperson, earlier this week, a cybersecurity company affiliated to Microsoft identified a bug that can leave XP-running machines vulnerable to WannaCry ransomware attacks. To this end, the company has released a security update that will hopefully seal the breach.

XP users are urged to update their systems to the latest build as soon as possible. Named CVE-2019-0708, the update can be download for free from Microsoft’s official webpage.

More information on how to download and deploy the update for CVE-2019-0708 is here.

However, since XP doesn’t have the same versatility as 10 when it comes to auto-updating, the patch will have to be manually downloaded and installed on the machine. Users will be able to find a full set of instructions on the company’s security support page.

Is My Computer at Risk?

If your machine’s running Windows 10, then there’s nothing to fear. However, if you haven’t updated your XP computer in a while, it may be in your best interest to do so. Ransomware attacks are something to be toyed with.

Some companies were coaxed into paying hundreds of thousands of dollars in order to have their data returned. And that’s not even the worst part.

According to Microsoft, vulnerable XP machines can be used to spread malware code which can ultimately reach devices running the latest version of Windows.

So, if your company’s still using XP, you should consider upgrading your equipment and deploying the latest version of Windows.

What are your thoughts on this recently-discovered bug?

Head to the comments section and voice your opinion.

About Daniel Sadler

Old-school PC gamer, poetry buff, cat lover, tech wiz. His writing career began almost two decades ago when he modestly acknowledged that hindsight or, lack thereof, can compromise security. He enjoys spending quality time with his friends and family. Most of his friends refer to Daniel as a "man of a few words, but, man, what words!" His interests include cybersecurity, IT, blogging, and, of course, everything related to technology.

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