Last month, Microsoft was forced to release patches for its ancient Windows XP operating system following the 'WannaCry' ransomware attack. Although it was later revealed that the cyberattack only affected a minor number of PCs running the OS, it showed how important it is to use supported versions of Windows.
Now, in yet another unprecedented move, Microsoft has released even more security patches for unsupported versions of Windows, warning users of state-sponsored cyberattacks.
According to The Verge, the company's latest round of security updates for this month's Patch Tuesday also contains patches for all relatively recent, but unsupported, versions of Windows, including XP and Vista. Microsoft says that these patches are being released due to the "elevated risk" of cyberattacks, especially state-sponsored. This does not mean that the company is abandoning its software service model, but this is just an exception based on the intelligence it has received.
Adrienne Hall, general manager of crisis management at Microsoft, had the following to say:
In reviewing the updates for this month, some vulnerabilities were identified that pose elevated risk of cyberattacks by government organizations, sometimes referred to as nation-state actors, or other copycat organizations. To address this risk, today we are providing additional security updates along with our regular Update Tuesday service. These security updates are being made available to all customers, including those using older versions of Windows.
Microsoft hasn't revealed the details about the threat as of yet, but has urged customers running unsupported versions of Windows to update through Microsoft’s Download Center or Windows Update as soon as possible. It is important to note that support for Windows XP was terminated back in 2014, while Windows Vista reached its end of life earlier this year.