Microsoft has taken the unusual step of issuing patches for a number of security vulnerabilities in older versions of Windows that the company says are "at heightened risk of exploitation" from nation-state attackers.
Users of older Windows PCs should manually update their computers, said Microsoft Cyber Defense Operations Center General Manager Adrienne Hall in a blog post. In the latest effort to protect Windows users from an elevated risk of cyber-attacks, Microsoft released its June's Patch Tuesday round of security updates.
The latest security update patches several other RCE (remote code execution) flaws found in supported Windows versions.
"To address this risk, we are providing additional security updates along with our regular "Update Tuesday" service".
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.
Microsoft has declared that the next major Windows 10 update dubbed Redstone 3, will not have SMB1 protocol.
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By Ars' count, Tuesday is only the third time in Microsoft history that the company has issued free security updates for a decommissioned product.
Today's Patch Tuesday seems to be a busy one for Microsoft.
Typically, Microsoft only releases security updates for unsupported Windows systems when there's a so-called "custom support" agreement in place. The company usually strictly limits updates to its supported operating systems, now Windows 7, 8.1 and 10.
The patches will be made available on Microsoft's Download Centre or Windows Update.
Providing patches for Windows XP is a potentially risky thing to do. However, these older versions do not have the level of exploit hardening and platform features (e.g., Device Guard, instant cloud protection etc.) available in Windows 10 to effectively protect against the threat. Meanwhile, the company typically boasts that the newer version of Windows is better, faster, and most important, more secure, and like a rusty tool, has worn out its usefulness.
Some have argued this week that these types of patches for unsupported OS's will prompt users to not upgrade from Windows 7 when its extended support period ends in January 2020. "There are many reasons - some even valid - why patches aren't applied".