Warning over XP Update Trap

Tuesday, May 27, 2014 @ 04:05 PM gHale

Support for Windows XP is done, over with, kaput, so the software giant is now warning users about a hack attack that tricks the company’s servers into applying security patches.

The workaround first appeared on a forum website called Sebijk, which revealed how making a small change in XP’s registry will fool Microsoft’s upgrade servers into thinking they are applying security patches to newer versions of Windows.

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Microsoft said XP users exploiting the hack may encounter various problems and would not have full protection.

“The security updates that could be installed are intended for Windows Embedded and Windows Server 2003 customers and do not fully protect Windows XP customers,” Microsoft said. “Windows XP customers also run a significant risk of functionality issues with their machines if they install these updates, as they are not tested against Windows XP.”

It is not clear how long the update hack will remain usable now that Microsoft is aware of its existence.

Microsoft said that XP users who are concerned about the security and functionality of their PCs should upgrade to a newer and supported version of Windows. “The best way for Windows XP customers to protect their systems is to upgrade to a more modern operating system, like Windows 7 or Windows 8.1,” officials said.

Updates and security support for Windows XP became a major concern earlier this year when Microsoft withdrew its support for the 13-year-old operating system.

Windows XP still has a large following of people and organizations. Around 430 million PCs still use a version of XP.

Microsoft recently made an exception to its decision not to support XP and issued a patch for a security flaw in Internet Explorer. Yet security experts have still advised XP users to switch to alternative browsers such as Chrome or Firefox.

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