This week, Microsoft issued patches for 79 flaws across its platforms and products. One of them merits particular attention: a bug so bad that Microsoft released a fix for it on Windows XP, an operating system it officially abandoned five years ago.
There’s maybe no better sign of a vulnerability’s severity; the last time Microsoft bothered to make a Windows XP fix publicly available was a little over two years ago, in the months before the WannaCry ransomware attack swept the globe. This week’s vulnerability has similarly devastating implications. In fact, Microsoft itself has drawn a direct parallel.
“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,” Simon Pope, director of incident response for the Microsoft Security Response Center, wrote in a statement announcing the patch Tuesday. “It is highly likely that malicious actors will write an exploit for this vulnerability and incorporate it into their malware.”
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