Microsoft Rolls out Windows Patch as Company Fends off WannaCry

By Jenia Cane, | May 16, 2017

To protect users from the malware, Microsoft has urged those who haven't installed the latest Windows security patch to do so at the soonest possible time.

To protect users from the malware, Microsoft has urged those who haven't installed the latest Windows security patch to do so at the soonest possible time.

Microsoft is pushing back by rolling out a highly-anticipated security patch for its Windows XP, Server 2003 and Windows 8 on Tuesday, three days after WannaCry, a virulent malware, wreaked havoc on Internet-based systems across the globe.

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The patch's release comes at a crucial time as a previous version of the malware was able to exploit vulnerabilities in the Windows platform using previously leaked tools by the National Security Agency (NSA).

In March, Microsoft tried to address the vulnerability by releasing patch MS17-010 but only for current platforms. The patch was not able to provide a fix for older Microsoft Windows systems such as XP, Server 2003 and Windows 8 - and WannaCry took advantage of this weakness.

The "end of life" patch was considered a mass fix by experts, as the ransomware claimed 200,000 victims worldwide, a fifth of which was NHS trusts.

To protect users from the malware, Microsoft has urged those who haven't installed the latest Windows security patch to do so at the soonest possible time.  

The company also reminded users to install other user updates and enable auto updates on their computers, as well as run Microsoft's free anti-virus software for Windows.

Before the release of the Microsoft Windows patch, Marcus Hutchin, a 22-year old computer genius, was able to stop WannaCry dead in its tracks using a "kill switch" he developed.

In the meantime, Microsoft has released a statement warning users that the malware which affected banks, factories, and schools in 150 countries around the world, could return anytime soon.

"As cybercriminals become more sophisticated, there is simply no way for customers to protect themselves against threats unless they update their systems," Microsoft president and chief legal officer Brad Smith said in the statement. He stressed the importance of the Windows patch in the company's battle against WannaCry and other lethal malware.

The Microsoft executive also criticized governments across the globe for the way they store their information.

"We have seen vulnerabilities stored by the CIA show up on WikiLeaks, and now this vulnerability stolen from the NSA has affected customers around the world," Smith added.

He pointed that Microsoft released a Windows security patch in March to resolve the problem created by WannaCry, but lamented that many users are yet to install and run it.


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