- A vulnerability in older versions of the Windows operating system is so bad that even the National Security Agency has chimed in alongside Microsoft to encourage users to download an update containing a fix.
- The vulnerability could lead to malware similar to the “WannaCry” ransomware from 2017 that prevented users from accessing their data unless they paid a ransom.
- It could also lead to denial-of-service attacks, which have the potential to shut down crucial systems.
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Microsoft and the National Security Agency are urging Windows computer users to update their older operating systems after a vulnerability was discovered that could lead to malware similar to the devastating “WannaCry” ransomware from 2017.
The NSA said the vulnerability, called “BlueKeep,” could spread across the internet without user interaction like clicking a malicious link. It affects Windows 7, Windows XP, and Server 2003 and 2008.
The BlueKeep vulnerability poses such a danger that Microsoft issued a fix for Windows XP, a version of the operating system that Microsoft stopped supporting in 2014.
Microsoft said in a post last Thursday urging users to update their version of Windows that nearly 1 million computers were still vulnerable.
The NSA said on Tuesday of the dangers of the BlueKeep vulnerability:
“This is the type of vulnerability that malicious cyber actors frequently exploit through the use of software code that specifically targets the vulnerability. For example, the vulnerability could be exploited to conduct denial of service attacks. It is likely only a matter of time before remote exploitation code is widely available for this vulnerability. NSA is concerned that malicious cyber actors will use the vulnerability in ransomware and exploit kits containing other known exploits, increasing capabilities against other unpatched systems.”
A denial-of-service attack can shut down computers and networks, like the systems controlling a company’s infrastructure.
Hopefully, large organizations in charge of important systems have coordinated with Microsoft and the NSA to update their systems. As for the regular computer users running older versions of the Windows operating system, it’s as good a time as any to upgrade to Windows 10. If you like the way Windows XP looks, you can even add a layer on top of Windows 10 to make it look like Windows XP.