Sci-tech

Microsoft releases new update amid concerns over state-sponsored attacks

Microsoft releases new update amid concerns over state-sponsored attacks

Microsoft's June Patch Tuesday security updates includes several patches for unsupported versions of Windows.

It's an unusual move for the company to provide fixes to older operating systems, highlighting its concerns over cyber attacks.

She did not specifiy which government organisations or nation-state actors are targeting Microsoft users with malware.

It's unclear what information came to light to causee Microsoft to make this move, but it's highly likely the sensitive environment following the WannaCry scare is at least in part responsible. The security updates will be delivered automatically through Windows Update to devices running Windows 10, Windows 8.1 and Windows 7.

A toital of 25 vulnerabilities are now being addressed for the older Windows variants, several of which can be used to execute code remotely to take over systems. The updates are meant to shore up systems against "potential attacks with characteristics similar to WannaCrypt", it said.

Previously, Microsoft released a special out-of-band security update for XP and Server 2003 in May this year, after the WannaCry ransomware outbreak, patching XP and Server 2003 against exploitation via the ETERNALBLUE SMB exploit.

Microsoft ended support for Windows XP back in April 2014 so the company is not on the hook for regular security or feature updates for this iteration of Windows. None of those exploits work on supported versions of Windows. However the hacker group, TheShadowBrokers, last month vowed to release monthly dumps, including new Windows exploits that were stolen from a hacking team within the US National Security Agency (NSA). These security updates are being made available to all customers, including those using older versions of Windows. The down-level patches, by contrast, must be manually downloaded and installed.

Microsoft had pleaded with Windows admins to apply MS17-010, a security bulletin released in March, one month before the ShadowBrokers leaked a cadre of weaponized Windows exploits, but many did not take heed. Customers with automatic updates enabled are protected and there is no additional action required.


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