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Microsoft: Millions of Windows devices are at risk

Jacob Yothment

Published

If you are using an older version of Windows, Microsoft has urged that you install an update to protect against a potential virus.

Windows virus

The company detected a vulnerability in Remote Desktop Services, and recommends that you download a patch from their update catalog. 

By exploiting this issue, a virus could potentially spread to the millions of devices using an older version of Windows. The virus could be contracted simply by accessing an internet connection.

The vulnerability exists in the following versions of Windows:

  • Windows XP
  • Windows 2003
  • Windows 7
  • Windows Server 2008

Some of the vulnerable versions are highly out of date and no longer supported, such as Windows 2003. Howeverthe company wants to preemptively solve the problem as it could widely spread. Luckily, Windows 8 and Windows 10 are not affected.

The latest and greatest version of Microsoft's operating system.

Simon Pope, director of incident response at Microsoft’s Security Response Center, compared the potential risk to the WannaCry malware attack of 2017. He also said that if the issue were left unpatched, the event of a rapidly spreading virus would be “highly likely.”

The WannaCry malware incident involved ransomware being spread through devices running Windows. It encrypted data and demanded ransom in the form of Bitcoin.

“Any future malware that exploits this vulnerability could propagate from vulnerable computer to vulnerable computer in a similar way as the WannaCry malware spread across the globe in 2017,” Pope said. 

Not out of the woods

Although there weren’t any hackers exploiting the vulnerability at the time Microsoft released the patches, Microsoft consequently gave them the tools to create a virus.

Someone with malicious intent could reverse engineer the patch to create the malware, according to Microsoft.

Basically, download the patch and save your hide.

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