Exactly two years on from the outbreak of WannaCry, highly pervasive ransomware that targeted Windows OS’s, Microsoft has issued a press release urging users still maintaining legacy systems to apply a critical patch as a preventative measure.
The update, which plugs security holes in the remote execution functions of the OS, should be applied to Windows XP, Windows 7, and Windows Server by the years 2003, 2008 and 2008 R2. The fact that Microsoft is releasing security patches for Windows XP and Windows Server 2003 – both unsupported operating systems – gives some indication of how seriously the tech giant is taking this.
“The vulnerability is pre-authentication and requires no user interaction,” says Simon Pope, director of incident response at Microsoft’s Security Response Center. To the uninitiated, this means that any malware designed to exploit this security flaw will be able to jump from computer to computer (provided they both have the same vulnerability) without so much as a misguided click in a dodgy looking email. In fact, the means of transmission for any such future malware might be very similar in tactics to the devastatingly effective WannaCry ransomware of 2017 – very worrying indeed.
As yet, Microsoft states that it hasn’t seen any examples of this exploit being used to full effect out in the wild. However, as news spreads of the security patch, we can all expect malware authors to take advantage in any way they can.
The update isn’t pushed to devices on Windows Update but is only offered through the Microsoft Update Catalog website. This means Windows XP users need to get it manually to install it on their computers.
If you’re unsure as to whether this newly discovered exploit leaves your network vulnerable, give Curatrix Technologies a call today on 033 3241 2226 to discuss options around OS upgrades, network hardening, and state of the art security monitoring features. We also offer full security audits as well as Office 365 licencing options to ensure maximum security both from within and without.