Mega-Worm Defense: Fresh Patches for Unsupported Operating Systems
Microsoft fears that nation-state actors may unleash viral code that could devastate users. On Tuesday, it released software fixes again for its older operating systems in hopes of averting a repeat of last month’s infection of tens of thousands of computers with ransomware.
It’s the second time in a month Microsoft has taken the unprecedented move to patch those systems, which include Windows XP, Server 2003, Vista and Windows 8. But the company sought to emphasize that updates for older systems will not be routine.
“Our decision today to release these security updates for platforms not in extended support should not be viewed as a departure from our standard servicing policies,” writes Eric Doerr, general manager of Microsoft’s Security Response Center, in a blog post.
Microsoft published a list of 15 vulnerabilities it believes are at “imminent risk” of being exploited, some of which date back to 2008 and 2009.
Microsoft took an unprecedented step in May to patch older systems. Those updates blocked attacks using exploits likely stolen from the National Security Agency and released by a mysterious group called The Shadow Brokers (see WannaCry Outbreak: Microsoft Issues Emergency XP Patch).