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Microsoft issues critical Windows XP patch amid ‘elevated risk’ of attacks

Microsoft has send out a critical security patch for computers still running on the unsupported Windows XP operating system, to combat the growing threat of cyber attacks.

Following the devastating WannaCry ransomware outbreak, which affected around 75,000 machines and shut down the NHS’s IT infrastructure last month, Microsoft is taking action to block similar attacks.

Worryingly, Microsoft has identified the “elevated risk” of attacks from government actors.

In a blog post, Microsoft’s GM of crisis management (!) Adrienne Hall writes: “In reviewing the updates for this month, some vulnerabilities were identified that pose elevated risk of cyberattacks by government organizations, sometimes referred to as nation-state actors, or other copycat organizations.

To address this risk, today we are providing additional security updates along with our regular Update Tuesday service. These security updates are being made available to all customers, including those using older versions of Windows.”

Related: Windows 10 Creators Update review

Microsoft clarified this doesn’t mean a return to full support for Windows XP, which ended in 2014.

The firm clarifies this was an exception based on new intelligence and “should not be viewed as a departure from our standard servicing policies.”

The company added that this patch was to offer “further protection against potential attacks with characteristics similar to WannaCrypt.”

Are you still using Windows XP? Tell us why you’re sticking with the unsupported OS in the comments section below.