We continue to live side effects of WannaCry after its emergence in the computing landscape last month. This ransomware sowed panic among users and businesses around the world, spreading rapidly all over the world.
Among these side effects we find a warning made by Microsoft, according to which there is a “high risk of destructive cyber attacks” as set out in ZDNet. In addition, this warning is accompanied by an unprecedented movement: the Redmond company will release security patches for Windows XP among other unsupported operating systems.
These latest security updates are added to the usual ones on each Tuesday, as published. Windows 7, Windows 8.1, and Windows 10 will be automatically released through Windows Update , as well as Windows Server versions after 2008.
As for patches for unsupported systems, those already mentioned in Windows XP and also patches for Windows Server 2003 are included. These two systems, although Microsoft no longer offers updates officially for them, are still used in a good number of businesses.
For those who wish to update these systems, Microsoft has published a guide that provides everything necessary to carry out the operation, including download links to security patches and a lot of additional information.
High risk of attacks by governmental actors among others
Adrienne Hall, general manager of the Cyber Defense Operations Center of Microsoft, quoted in an article that there is a “high risk of cyber attacks by government organizations, sometimes referred to states or other imitating organizations.”
The same article states that the updates have been designed to offer “better protection against potential attacks with characteristics similar to those of WannaCry “. It is not clear at any time if Microsoft has received any kind of warning about imminent attacks, although the fact of seeing updates for Windows XP and Windows Server 2003 suggests that this is something serious.
In another article published by Eric Doerr, general manager of the Microsoft Security Response Center, he noted that these critical security updates “target vulnerabilities that are at risk of exploitation due to past activity by government actors.”
Doerr also took the opportunity to warn users who still use unsupported systems that there will be more patches like these in the future …
Our decision to release these security updates for platforms that do not have extended support should not be understood as a change and direction of our standard service policies. Based on an assessment of the current threat landscape by our security engineers, we have made the decision to make the updates more widely available. As always, we recommend our customers update to the latest platforms. The best protection is to use a modern and up-to-date system that incorporates the latest innovations in cyber defense. Older systems, even if they are fully up to date, do not have the latest features and advances in security.
WannaCry and its side effects continue to give war. It is good news that Microsoft has decided to leave (if only slightly) its policies to cover unsupported systems. We will see how long they maintain this attitude.