Microsoft releases new Windows XP security patch

Microsoft includes Windows XP and Vista in June's Patch Tuesday updates

Microsoft's June 2017 Patch Tuesday targeted 94 vulnerabilities, and for the second straight month included Windows XP fixes and patches for other unsupported systems in order to remediate flaws that could be exploited by leaked NSA cyberweapons.

MICROSOFT HAS TAKEN THE UNUSUAL STEP of releasing a critical security patch for Windows XP, warning that another WannaCry-style attack could be on the horizon. The updates resolve issues in Windows that could enable similar attacks to the high-profile WannaCrypt ransomware campaign last month.

A spokesperson for Microsoft said the decision to release the updates was "an exception based on the current threat landscape and the potential impact to customers and their businesses".

Microsoft has stated that some vulnerabilities posed elevated risks of "cyber attacks by government organisations". He went on to urge users to adopt new Microsoft products, which are significantly more resistant to exploits, and not to expect regular security fixes in the future. But in the wake of the WannaCry outbreak, which saw a ransomeware worm take advantage of un-patched versions of windows to encrpyt millions of computers worldwide, Microsoft is reassessing that policy. Now it has released another security update for Windows XP, this time due to the "heightened risk of exploitation" by copycats. However the hacker group, TheShadowBrokers, last month vowed to release monthly dumps, including new Windows exploits that were stolen from a hacking team within the US National Security Agency (NSA).

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Sadly the release of these patches for legacy software does not mean that Microsoft has changed its mind about supporting XP and the like. The Wanna Cry virus was only able to affect those systems that had Windows XP installed. Be that as it may, Microsoft's decision to issue yet another security patch for Windows XP could have unintended consequences, such as further delaying an IT department from recommending a wholesale upgrade to Windows 10. "Every time an organisation resists upgrading to Microsoft's latest operating system, it jeopardises its own security". Despite initial reporting suggesting Windows XP was the key to WannaCry's success, Kaspersky Lab asserted that most victims of WannaCry were running Windows 7, an operating system that is still officially supported by Microsoft.

"The best protection is to be on a modern, up-to-date system that incorporates the latest defense-in-depth innovations. I don't think that in the coming months we'll see more Windows XP patches".

However, there is one more reason why Microsoft is so careful.

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