Microsoft on Friday took a rare step of arising rags for long-demoted versions of Windows, including Windows XP, to immunize PCs from fast-spreading ransomware that has crippled machines worldwide.
To stymie “WannaCrypt” attacks — that encrypted files on thousands of PCs used by a U.K.’s National Health Service (NHS), causing disharmony in many hospitals — Microsoft published rags for Windows XP, Windows 8 and Windows Server 2003. All had been late from support: Windows XP in Apr 2014, Windows 8 in Jun 2016, Windows Server in Jul 2015.
“We are holding a rarely surprising step of providing a confidence refurbish for all business to strengthen Windows platforms that are in tradition support only, including Windows XP, Windows 8, and Windows Server 2003,” pronounced Phillip Misner, a principal confidence organisation manager during a Microsoft Security Response Center (MSRM), in a post to a association blog late Friday.
In fact, Microsoft has never released confidence updates for program as prolonged late from support as Windows XP, that fell off a list some-more than 3 years ago.
Microsoft had a Windows XP, 8 and Server 2003 updates already in palm — they were versions of MS17-010, a six-vulnerability repair delivered in Mar to newer editions, such as Windows 7 — since it offers post-retirement assistance to corporate business underneath a pay-for-patches program called “Custom Support.”
The WannaCrypt ransomware spreads to other Windows PCs on a network by exploiting a vulnerabilities Microsoft patched with MS17-010; a malware can also taint other systems by sniffing for exposed machines connected to a open Internet. After WannCrypt is installed, it encrypts information on a PC, afterwards displays an coercion note perfectionist between $300 and $600 to clear a files.
“Given a intensity impact to business and their businesses, we done a preference to make a Security Update for platforms in tradition support,” Misner pronounced in explaining Microsoft’s motivation. “This preference was done formed on an comment of this situation, with a element of safeguarding a patron ecosystem overall, resolutely in mind.”
The fact that news reports widely cited Windows XP-powered PCs as instrumental in a worm-like widespread of WannaCrypt — including in a NHS’ networks — was roughly positively a cause in Microsoft’s decision. In early 2014, before to Windows XP’s retirement, a U.K. supervision engaged for one year of tradition support. The Government Digital Service did not replenish a contract, withdrawal XP machines infirm in a face of attacks after Apr 2015.
Significant numbers of users still run Windows XP and Windows 8, dual of a prehistoric versions that Microsoft updated Friday. According to analytics businessman Net Applications, 7.7% of all Windows PCs run XP and 1.7% run Windows 8. Together those editions energy some-more than 150 million PCs worldwide.
It was misleading Sunday either Microsoft was delivering a new Windows XP, Windows 8 and Windows Server 2003 rags around a customary Windows Update upkeep service, or if users were compulsory to manually download a appropriate fixes from a Update Catalog.