Last month the world witnessed one of the largest ransomware attacks in the history of the internet as the WannaCry ransomware took north of 250,000 computers hostage, worldwide, and this alarmed Microsoft into fixing three exploits they had previously neglected.
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The three Windows exploits, reportedly built by National Security Agency, have been fixed in June’s security update for the new Windows platforms as well as the old ones such as XP or Server 2003.
Microsoft had earlier deferred from patching the three Windows exploits — ENGLISHMANDENTIST, ESTEEMAUDIT and EXPLODINGCAN — since they only affected old and ‘retired’ Windows platforms like XP.
But in the wake of recent ransomware attacks focussed on PCs running old Windows software made the company release a security patch.
“In reviewing the updates for this month, some vulnerabilities were identified that pose elevated risk of cyber attacks by government organisations, sometimes referred to as nation-state actors or other copycat organisations,” Adrienne Hall, General Manager, Cyber Defense Operations Center said.
Windows users with automatic updates enabled — especially on newer Windows platform — do not need to worry as they’re protected.
But users on older platforms like Windows XP need to treat this security update as a priority and install it as soon as possible.
“We have taken action to provide additional critical security updates to address vulnerabilities that are at heightened risk of exploitation due to past nation-state activity and disclosures,” Microsoft stated.
The updates can be found in the Download Center or in the Update catalogue.
These updates ensure that the PC — even the ones running on older Windows platforms — remain secure from attacks such as the recently witnessed WannaCry ransomware attack.
While Microsoft has made a one-off exception to dole out a public update for an out-dated platform from their stable, they also recommend that ‘the best protection is to be on a modern, up-to-date system that incorporates the latest innovations’.