Microsoft Releases New XP Patch

Wednesday, June 14, 2017 @ 09:06 AM gHale

After ending support for the wildly popular Windows XP in April 2014 and then issuing an emergency patch this past April, Microsoft released another update for another vulnerability in the operating system.

The patches for the unsupported operating system started last month when the Redmond, WA-based software giant published an emergency patch for Windows XP in order to block the WannaCry ransomware. The update shipped to systems covered by customer support as part of the March Patch Tuesday, but given the large amount attacks involving WannaCry and the vast number of companies and people still using the OS, Microsoft decided to release the Windows XP patch publicly.

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This time around, though, the company said the XP update blocks attacks similar to WannaCry, as it learned government organizations could attempt to exploit Windows systems. That means Microsoft is aware of a new vulnerability in Windows.

“In reviewing the updates for this month, some vulnerabilities were identified that pose elevated risk of cyber attacks by government organizations, sometimes referred to as nation-state actors or other copycat organizations,” said Adrienne Hall, general manager of crisis management at Microsoft. “To address this risk, today we are providing additional security updates along with our regular Update Tuesday service. These security updates are being made available to all customers, including those using older versions of Windows. Due to the elevated risk for destructive cyber attacks at this time, we made the decision to take this action because applying these updates provides further protection against potential attacks with characteristics similar to WannaCrypt.”

The new updates are available for all Windows versions, starting with Windows XP and ending with Windows 10, though the latter is getting the patches as part of cumulative updates. They are published on Windows Update and on the company’s Update Catalog, and users are recommended to install them as soon as possible.

Although at first glance it might seem like Microsoft is making releasing emergency updates for Windows XP common practice, this is not the case, the company itself says. These updates are only released because there’s an elevated risk of attacks, Microsoft said.

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