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Microsoft stopped support for Windows XP three years ago. It has ceased to release security updates to help secure the operating system … until last month. The WannaCry ransomware was devastating to computer networks that still use the popular OS. Most individual computer users either upgraded their machines, or simply unplugged their XP box from the Internet.
I have a buddy that has a large storehouse of personal photos on an XP unit. He still uses it as a place to work at home, and build his personal/family library of photos and diaries. For that machine, he has no use for the Internet. All his other computers that need Internet access use a more recent operating system.
And there are many more like him still having a need for an XP box that is still very productive.
But last month Microsoft released a security update for Windows XP to help protect against the WannaCry ransomware, and its potential variants.
The June 2017 Patch Tuesday was filled with a flood of patches. If you use an updated OS then you have a choice as to whether you want to utilize those updates or not. But for XP users, I’d take the time to plug your box back in to the Internet, run Windows Update, and install the recent updates.
Microsoft released individual patches for Windows XP and Vista — both of which are beyond their end of support dates — in a move similar to the one last month. Per the Microsoft Security Response Center:
“We are committed to ensuring our customers are protected against these potential attacks and we recommend those on older platforms, such as Windows XP, prioritize downloading and applying these critical updates”
There’s a reason why Microsoft released XP and Server 2003 patches again this month. Microsoft is fixing known holes in XP and Server 2003 that weren’t fixed before — holes that were plugged already for Win7 and later.
In short: If you have a Windows PC that’s connected to the internet and its running XP or Server 2003, it’s long been vulnerable to attack. Microsoft knows about it, and has known about the exposure for many months. It hasn’t fixed it until now.
This month’s patches plug those three holes on XP and Server 2003, as well as Vista and Windows 8. You can get them through Windows Update, or download them directly from Microsoft. For manual download links, see “Older Platforms Table 3 of 3” at the bottom of Security Advisory 4025685 (note that the link for Win8 doesn’t appear to be working).
For those of you who are still running XP, Server 2003, Vista or Win8, now would be a good time to fire up Windows Update or download and install the patches manually.
Be Safe – Backup Your Data Regularly!
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