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Microsoft Warns of Major Virus, Releases XP Patches

Microsoft has taken the unprecedented step of warning users of older versions of Windows of a bug, that has since been patched, which could be used as a “cyber weapon” akin to the WannaCry worm that spread globally in 2017.

This is just the latest in a week teeming with cybersecurity issues from Intel and WhatsApp.

According to the tech company, no one has taken advantage of the flaw but is urging users to apply a Windows Update to prevent a widespread attack.

The bug affects Windows 7 and Windows Server 2008 and older versions which Microsoft doesn’t normally patch, Windows 2003 and Windows XP.

Lending credence to the severity of the issue, the company has released patches to those versions.

“This vulnerability is pre-authentication and requires no user interaction,” reveals Simon Pope, director of incident response at Microsoft’s Security Response Center, in a company blog post.

“In other words, the vulnerability is ‘wormable’, meaning that any future malware that exploits this vulnerability could propagate from vulnerable computer to vulnerable computer in a similar way as the WannaCry malware spread across the globe in 2017.”

The Wall Street Journal reports that WannaCry swiftly spread across the globe, infecting more than 200,000 systems with ransomware, including the UK’s National Health Service, FedEx Corp, and Nissan Motor Co,

Before it could enact more damage, a security researcher activated a “kill switch” which prevented it from spreading.

Although Windows 10 is more popular than Windows 7, the bug — especially now that it has been publicised — has the potential to wreck the kind of havoc which WannaCry did in 2017.

Read the full blog post here.

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