On Tuesday, June 13th, Microsoft released a number of security updates. These repair vulnerabilities which can be exploited by viruses. An example of this is the recent WannaCry ransomware. Even unsupported versions of Windows will receive these updates.
Microsoft emphasizes that it provides the unsupported versions with updates as an exceptional case. It is by no means a departure from their policies on the lifespan of Windows versions. The unsupported versions include Windows XP, Windows Vista, Windows 8(.0), and Windows Server 2003. Microsoft also advises to upgrade to a platform that is still supported, and rightfully so.
These older versions will not receive the updates automatically. Users need to download and install these themselves. Of course, supported versions of Windows are updated automatically.
In April, a number of NSA hacking tools ended up on the internet by … a hack. Ironic, but also extremely dangerous. These hacking tools abuse, amongst others, vulnerabilities in Windows. The WannaCry ransomware, which spread like wildfire last May, was based on such a hack tool of the NSA.
The June 13 updates fix three vulnerabilities, of which Microsoft previously stated it would not repair them. They recant that decision because the vulnerabilities are so extremely serious. The company speaks of an “increased risk of destructive cyber attacks”. With these updates Microsoft means to prevent incidents similar to WannaCry. But other uses, such as spyware, can also be utilized on vulnerable systems.
Using unsupported Windows versions dangerous
We strongly advice against using software which is no longer supported. Unfortunately, for various reasons this is a practice sometimes done for years after official support lifecycles end. Even if this seems innocent, it puts your data and your company at great risk. Do you still have systems running Windows XP, Windows Vista, Windows 8(.0), or Windows Server 2003? Please contact your 1A-partner immediately to replace these systems!
Richard de Vroede
A perfectionistic Jack-of-all-trades who dedicates all of his passion to his work.
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