Microsoft released WannaCry patches immediately after the attack, including for older Windows operating systems, but it says the new round of updates is created to close additional loopholes that could be exploited in future attacks using state-sponsored malware.
Adrienne Hall, Microsoft's General Manager of the Cyber Defense Operations Center, cited in Microsoft's blog that there is an "elevated risk of cyberattacks" by government and other copycat organizations.
We still feel very strongly that you should have left XP and Server 2003 behind years ago, given that newer Windows versions contain a wide range of security mitigations that simply can't be retrofitted to older versions.
"If Microsoft says that Windows 7 truly reaches end of life in [January] 2020, is it really going to cut off support, or will they release critical patches like they have done twice with Windows XP?" asked Brad Sams of Petri.com on Tuesday.
Following last month's global ransomware attack, Microsoft has grown extra cautious and thorough inspection of three remaining loopholes suggested they were still open to exploitation by state-sponsored actors (ones working for the government).
Microsoft distributed the updates in addition to this month's "Patch Tuesday", the security updates Microsoft rolls out each month. Many systems then woke up and updated their security patches. "Some of them are pretty old", he said of the dozen vulnerabilities that Microsoft patched.
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Meanwhile Amol Sarwate, director of vulnerability research at Qualys, has warned system admins that this month's Patch Tuesday is a massive update and fixes more than double the number of vulnerabilities compared to the last two months.
This story, "Microsoft resurrects Windows XP patches for second month straight" was originally published by Computerworld. Notably, Microsoft officially ended the support for Windows XP in 2014. Some, not able to finish the job in time and unwilling (or unable) to expose unpatched systems to possible attacks, pay princely sums to Microsoft for after-retirement custom support.
The updates can be found in the Download Center or in the Update catalogue. "Windows XP is retired", Goettl said.
To give an idea of the seriousness of this month's Patch Tuesday, Microsoft has chose to include patches for a number of legacy operating systems it no longer supports. SMB is the service on Windows that enables file and folder sharing.
Microsoft says its decision to push-out to operating systems not now in extended support "should not be viewed as a departure from our standard servicing policies".
"The best protection is to be on a modern, up-to-date system that incorporates the latest innovations".
These crucial security patches will be available to download from Microsoft's Download Centre or Windows Update. As a part, they have urgently rolled a security patch even for the Windows XP which they hand washed days back.