Microsoft today released critical security updates to block another wave of similar attacks, making those patches available on unsupported versions like Windows XP and Server 2003.
An "elevated risk for destructive cyberattacks" by government organizations or copycats, Microsoft today released an assortment of security updates designed to block attacks similar to those responsible for thedevastating WannaCry/WannaCrypt ransomware outbreak last month., reports zdnet.
Today's critical security updates are in addition to the normal Patch Tuesday releases, Microsoft said. They'll be delivered automatically through Windows Update to devices running supported versions, including Windows 10, Windows 8.1, Windows 7, and post-2008 Windows Server releases.
But in an unprecedented move, Microsoft announced that it was also making the patches available simultaneously for manual download and installation on unsupported versions, including Windows XP and Windows Server 2003. Both of those operating systems are still deployed by significant numbers of business customers years after their official support lifecycles ended.
The new updates can be found in the Microsoft Download Center or, alternatively, in the Update Catalog. For links, see this Security Summarypage. Anyone running an unsupported operating system should look in this article for guidance and download links:
Microsoft's Adrienne Hall, General Manager of the Cyber Defense Operations Center, cited an "elevated risk of cyberattacks by government organizations, sometimes referred to as nation-state actors, or other copycat organizations."
The announcement noted that the updates were designed to provide "further protection against potential attacks with characteristics similar to WannaCrypt."
A Microsoft spokesperson declined to comment when asked whether the company had received warnings of an imminent attack, either from security researchers or government agencies. However, the tone and timing of today's announcement suggests that today's critical updates are much more than a routine precaution.