Home / PC & Laptops / Old Windows PCs can stop WannaCry ransomware with new Microsoft patch – PCWorld

Old Windows PCs can stop WannaCry ransomware with new Microsoft patch – PCWorld

Users of old Windows systems can now download a patch to protect them from this week’s massive ransomware attack.

In a rare step, Microsoft published a patch for Windows XP, Windows Server 2003 and Windows 8—all of them operating systems for which it no longer provides mainstream support.

Users can download and find more information about the patches in Microsoft’s blog post about Friday’s attack from the WannaCry ransomware.

The ransomware, which has spread globally, has been infecting computers by exploiting a Windows vulnerability involving the Server Message Block protocol, a file-sharing feature.

Computers infected with WannaCry will have their data encrypted, and display a ransom note demanding $300 or $600 in bitcoin to free the files.

Fortunately, Windows 10 customers were not targeted in Friday’s attack. In March, Microsoft patched the vulnerability that the ransomware exploits—but only for newer Windows systems. That’s left older Windows machines, or those users who failed to patch newer machines, vulnerable to Friday’s attack.

The ransomware was initially found spreading through attachments in email phishing campaigns. In certain cases, the scam emails pretended to represent a bank alert about a money transfer, according to Cisco’s Talos security group.

Users can protect themselves by being careful about such emails, Microsoft said. The company’s free antivirus software Windows Defender, along with other third-party security products from those including Kaspersky Lab and Avast, will also detect and remove the threat.


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