After WannaCry, Microsoft amps up security updates

Microsoft includes Windows XP and Vista in June's Patch Tuesday updates

Microsoft has send out a critical security patch for computers still running on the unsupported Windows XP operating system, to combat the growing threat of cyber attacks.

Among the flaws for which Microsoft released patches for older platforms is the MS17-010 vulnerability that has been used by attackers spreading the WannaCry ransomware.

On Tuesday, Adrienne Hall, general manager of the cyber defence operations centre at Microsoft, said in a blog-post that the updates have been released to the elevated risk of "nation-state actors" organisations.

Although the security updates will provide some protection to older versions, Microsoft still urges people to use modern and supported versions of Windows as older ones lack the latest security features and advancements newer ones have.

At the time of the Shadow Brokers attacks, the company released some security updates which fixed most of the vulnerabilities targeted by them.

Microsoft distributed the updates in addition to this month's "Patch Tuesday", the security updates Microsoft rolls out each month. The new updates are available for all Windows versions, including Windows XP, Windows 7, Windows 8 and Windows 10.

Compared to previous updates, build 15223 for Windows 10 Mobile is relatively small in changes, being just one iteration from build 15222 which was made available late last week.

The new security fixes are created to address three different vulnerabilities that were not patched before. Microsoft patched multiple SMB vulnerabilities in its March 2017 Patch Tuesday update, including issues that enabled WannaCry. But in the wake of the WannaCry outbreak, which saw a ransomeware worm take advantage of un-patched versions of windows to encrpyt millions of computers worldwide, Microsoft is reassessing that policy.

I guess we can no longer describe these updates as unprecedented because this is now two months in a row that Microsoft has released patches to address a security threat on older systems and that my friends is called precedence.

Providing patches for Windows XP is a potentially risky thing to do.

Windows XP is one of the most commonly used operating systems.

Tuesday's security update includes patches to Windows XP, Windows Vista, and Server 2003 products.

"Anyone still using Windows 2003 or XP should install these patches ASAP with the expectation that they will be actively exploited in the near term". Now, Microsoft has released a report on how Windows 10 is created to prevent ransomware attacks.

Sarwate also suggested users prioritize patches for Windows graphic font engine vulnerabilities CVE-2017-8527, CVE-2017-8528 and CVE-2017-0283, and Outlook patch CVE-2017-8507, all of which could allow attackers to take complete control of a victim's machine.

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