Still stubbornly running an ancient version of Windows, despite the security threats? You’re in luck, this time.
The ransomware attack known as WannaCrypt that sent organizations and individual users around the world scrambling for security cover has been addressed by Microsoft, the company behind the most widely used operating system on the planet, with a new software update. And, to the relief of many holding onto old versions of Windows, the update plays nice with some old school systems, too.
Late Friday, the company posted an official notice on its site regarding the update as well as general guidance regarding the WannaCrypt attack. The update covers users on Windows XP, Windows 8, and Windows Server 2003 (the attack didn’t target Windows 10, according to Microsoft). Additionally, Microsoft advises users to “use vigilance when opening documents from untrusted or unknown sources.”
The patch goes all the way back to Windows XP, a version of Windows Microsoft stopped supporting several years ago.
This update is particularly noteworthy because the patch goes all the way back to Windows XP, a version of Windows Microsoft stopped supporting several years ago. Regarding that unusual move, Microsoft’s blog post states, “This decision was made based on an assessment of this situation, with the principle of protecting our customer ecosystem overall, firmly in mind.”
“Today our engineers added detection and protection against new malicious software known as Ransom:Win32.WannaCrypt,” a spokesperson said in a statement emailed to Mashable. “In March, we provided a security update which provides additional protections against this potential attack. Those who are running our free antivirus software or have Windows Update enabled, are protected.”
The rapid response from Microsoft indicates just how worrisome the ransomware attack has been for businesses around the world including vital organizations where computers are central to daily work such as hospitals and utility companies.
On Saturday, a report from Reuters indicated that the impact of the ransomware has been greatly reduced in recent hours due to the work of an unnamed UK-based researcher who worked to limit its spread.
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