Given that Microsoft ended support for Windows XP in 2014, news that the firm has released a security update for the operating system is interesting to say the least.
The update being dispatched today contains “critical security updates” that patch vulnerabilities in Microsoft’s software. These vulnerabilities were used by nation-states in attacks in the past and attackers have threatened to use vulnerabilities in future attacks.
The updates fix vulnerabilities such as the print spooler allowing remote code execution and an Internet Explorer vulnerability which could allow an attacker to gain complete control of a system.
These vulnerabilities are especially dangerous as regards older operating systems which don’t receive updates anymore such as is the case with Windows XP.
That isn’t to say that Microsoft never releases patches for its older software but this usually only happens when its serious. For instance the firm released a patch for Windows XP following the Wannacry attack in May.
How do I update?
If you have automatic updates enabled and you’re running a version of Windows Microsoft still supports, you don’t need to do anything as Windows will download and install the updates automatically.
However, if your system uses Windows XP, Windows Vista, Windows 8, Windows Server 2003 or Windows Server 2003 R2 you’re going to have to manually install the applicable updates.
Sadly the release of these patches for legacy software does not mean that Microsoft has changed its mind about supporting XP and the like.
“Microsoft’s decision to release security updates for the additional platforms today should not be interpreted as a change in policy. Customers are encouraged to upgrade to a supported platform,” said the firm.
At least there is a security patch available, and we advise that you download it as soon as possible to prevent possible attacks.