Microsoft patches Windows XP due to 'heightened risk' of nation-state activity

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

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

An "elevated risk for destructive cyberattacks" by government organizations or copycats, Microsoft today released an assortment of security updates created to block attacks similar to those responsible for thedevastating WannaCry/WannaCrypt ransomware outbreak last month., reports zdnet.

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 has released new security updates for older versions of Windows as it warns of potential cyber-attacks by government organisations.

When WannaCry was at its height, Microsoft issued a notice that it had already patched supported versions of Windows against this and other vulnerabilities that had been leaked in April.

After the attacks, the company conducted a review that revealed several vulnerabilities. ZDNet confirmed today that Microsoft patched these three flaws in the eight XP and Server 2003 security updates it released as part of the June 2017 Patch Tuesday. The company later issued updates to protect unsupported Windows XP, Windows 8 and Windows Server 2003 operating systems. The issue [CVE-2017-8543] affects Windows Server 2016, 2012, 2008 as well as desktop systems like Windows 10, 7 and 8.1.

Ham radio operators test emergency communications
They typically will use electrical power from generators, wind power, or solar power. One member recalls a disaster when demonstrations like this one became reality.

Today's Patch Tuesday seems to be a busy one for Microsoft.

Released in 2001, Microsoft ended support for XP in 2014, but it remained in wide use, including by organizations like the United States Navy, which paid $9 million for extended support. SMB is the service on Windows that enables file and folder sharing.

Tuesday's issuance of down-level patches is only the latest in a series of unusual events involving Microsoft's once-predictable security update regimen.

The updates are available in the Microsoft Download Center and the Update Catalog Page. For manual download links, see "Older Platforms Table 3 of 3" at the bottom of Security Advisory 4025685 (note that the link for Win8 doesn't appear to be working). However, these older versions do not have the level of exploit hardening and platform features (e.g., Device Guard, instant cloud protection etc.) available in Windows 10 to effectively protect against the threat. In anofficial blog post, Adrienne Hall, General Manager, Cyber Defense Operations Center at Microsoft found that the three vulnerabilities in the Windows OS could prove to be detrimental for its users. Tuesday's move suggests Microsoft may have good reason to believe attackers are planning to use EsteemAudit, ExplodingCan, and EnglishmanDentist in attacks against older systems.

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