You know there’s a serious problem if Microsoft is dusting off support for Windows XP. The company has just released fixes for a Remote Desktop Services vulnerability, which could let malware spread from PC to PC without any user input.
The vulnerability affects Windows 7, Windows Server 2008 R2, Windows Server 2008, Windows 2003 and Windows XP. Even though the latter two of these are well beyond being officially supported, Microsoft has made an exception and supplied emergency patches – probably to avoid a repeat of the Wannacry malware outbreak in business and governmental networks that have been slow to upgrade to newer versions of Windows.
Related: Best free antivirus
“If you are on an out-of-support version, the best way to address this vulnerability is to upgrade to the latest version of Windows,” Microsoft urges. “Even so, we are making fixes available for these out-of-support versions of Windows in KB4500705.”
Those running versions of Windows still supported will find the urgent patch automatically installed assuming they have automatic updates enabled, but the problem doesn’t even affect the very latest editions – and by design, according to Microsoft. “Customers running Windows 8 and Windows 10 are not affected by this vulnerability, and it is no coincidence that later versions of Windows are unaffected,” the company wrote. “Microsoft invests heavily in strengthening the security of its products, often through major architectural improvements that are not possible to backport to earlier versions of Windows.”
Microsoft says that it has “observed no exploitation of this vulnerability” but believes it to only be a matter of time, writing that “it is highly likely that malicious actors will write an exploit for this vulnerability and incorporate it into their malware.”
How can Microsoft get people to stop using XP? Let us know your thoughts on Twitter: @TrustedReviews.