The corporation behind Windows XP, Microsoft was forced to issue more security patches for one of it’s older versions for which the support has already expired. The primary reason for releasing the security patches is the recent WannaCry ransomware virus outbreak. It was the primary malware responsible for infecting Windows via SMB exploits.
The updates of the operating system are now released and they can be downloaded from any legal Windows XP machine. Since the ransomware has notably rendered multiple IT systems on a global scale no longer usable, the updates were necessary. WannaCry is a ransomware virus that encrypts the files on the compromised computers holding them hostage unless a ransom payoff is made to restore them.
Since this ransomware virus is not something that is revolutionary, the experts did not focus on it specifically for the updates. The updates include patches regarding how this virus is spread which is via a worm, targeting multiple Windows exploits which have remained unpatched for quite some time now. However as soon as the vulnerabilities were discovered, Microsoft have quickly released fixes for the newer windows versions. The exploits were leaked January 2017 by the hacking group The Shadow Brokers and they include multiple methods by which a malware could gain control of a targeted machine. This resulted in cyber-criminals creating a worm infection which spreads automatically from a device to a device, resulting in a massive ransomware outbreak, infecting over 200 thousand computers.
Despite that not many Windows XP machines were infected by the outbreak, the company has released the patches in the event that a new outbrake using those exploits occurs in the future.
Criticism Met Over Patching Windows XP
Researchers and security experts have raised concerns over the strategy of Microsoft to patch the discontinued Windows XP. Many have already said that every time there is a new vulnerability for newer Windows versions, this vulnerability will likely exist on Windows XP as well. And this combined with the situation that a significant portion of users are using Windows XP does not say good about the support of this OS and it’s future safety. Basically the theory is that if they are to update one flaw, this does not make XP secure against all the other flaws which were updated for the newer Windows versions.
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