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Weakness was discovered in a Windows component called Remote Desktop Services (formerly called Terminal Services). It is mainly used in corporate environments such as government agencies and large corporations.
According to Simon Pope, director of incident response at Microsoft, exploiting the vulnerability does not require user intervention, and this happens before Windows can request any credentials. This is an incredibly volatile combination.
Fortunately, this only affects older versions of Windows. If your systems are running Windows 8 or Windows 10, you have nothing to fear. But Windows Server 2008, 2008 R2, and 2003 are also affected.
So is Windows XP. Yes, there are still computers running Windows XP. A lot of them. In fact, about 1.7% of all Windows computers that are connected to the Internet still use an outdated OS. In the US, this percentage is falling slightly below 1%, but this is still alarming, given the total number of computers that are online. It is for this small percentage that Microsoft released the Windows XP 2019 update.
Why is this so disturbing? Since Windows XP was released for retail channels in October 2001. Microsoft discontinued long-term support for Windows XP in 2014. Theoretically, the termination of long-term support for a piece of software means the termination of security fixes and bug fixes.
However, almost 20 years later, Microsoft released another critical patch for an operating system that refuses to die. The update must be installed manually, so if you still own or manage any computers with Windows XP (or Server 2003 servers), you must immediately download the installer - update for Windows XP 2019.
It is very important that the update is also installed quickly. Now that the download is available, cybercriminals can (and will) start reverse engineering to figure out how to exploit the vulnerability in Remote Desktop Services.
We hope that lessons have been learned from WannaCry and system administrators will act immediately. If they do not, we will have another round of sensational headlines about cyber attacks.