Microsoft Issues Rare Windows XP Patch Following Global WannaCrypt Ransomware Outbreak

Isaac Cain
May 20, 2017

And that's for a simple reason: Individuals and organizations alike are fundamentally awful about keeping their computers up-to-date with security fixes. Seven of the 47 affected trusts were still having IT problems Monday. The criminals behind the attack have not yet been identified. "I hope that if another attack occurs, the damage will be a lot less".

Do not click on links, download/open attachments from unknown senders.

It's not just your computer that you need to be anxious about.

The hackers leverage on a Window exploit developed by the US' National Security Agency called EternalBlue, which was reportedly leaked and dumped by the Shadow Brokers hacking group last month.

"We are taking the highly unusual step of providing a security update for all customers to protect Windows platforms that are in custom support only, including Windows XP, Windows 8, and Windows Server 2003", says Microsoft. The WannaCry infection does not affect those using Macintosh computers.

The worm is primarily impacting business, where it can spread quickly through a network to take down an entire company.

"It's not in every policy, but there's often language in the policies saying that the policyholder has to keep reasonable security practices in place, and the patch has been out since March", Mr. Dusek said. But that's complicated, because hackers need to find security flaws that are unknown, widespread and relatively easy to exploit.

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But even if you connect make sure that you choose an option in Windows that say you're connecting to a public WiFi network.

One of the biggest-ever ransomware attacks continues to take computers hostage. They can also use a firewall to block unrecognized internet traffic from accessing the networking ports the Server Message Block uses. WannaCry operates by locking the user out of their system, encrypting the data, and demanding a ransom via Bitcoin to release it, starting as high as $300.

On Saturday, cybersecurity officials in Britain have applauded a young researcher for helping halt the global ransomware cyberattack. Other experts found his claim credible.

It is advisable to upgrade to the latest patch of the Windows operating system to be safe against the attack. "We've already started getting the phone calls", he said. "Part of what an organization needs to understand and assess is what those two risks are".

At that time, the attack was on one of the companies that provide the "switch" for ATMs. And while other attackers might use the same flaw, such attacks will be steadily less successful as organizations patch it.

Experts urged organizations and companies to immediately update older Microsoft operating systems, such as Windows XP, with a patch released by Microsoft limit vulnerability to a more powerful version of the malware - or to future versions that can't be stopped.

There are many backup options available including Cloud based solutions and external drives. Generally, computer scientists will publicly reveal exploits, usually after informing the company of the issue and giving them time to fix it, so that they can be fixed in other systems, and the whole computer ecosystem can be improved. And those fixes will do nothing for newer systems if they aren't installed.

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