Microsoft issued a “highly unusual” patch for Windows XP last month to help prevent the spread of the massive WannaCry malware. At least 75,000 computers in 99 countries were affected by the malware which encrypts a computer and demands a $300 ransom before unlocking it. Microsoft stopped supporting Windows XP in April 2014, but the software giant is now taking the unprecedented move of including it in the company’s Patch Tuesday round of security updates today.
“In reviewing the updates for this month, some vulnerabilities were identified that pose elevated risk of cyberattacks by government organizations, sometimes referred to as nation-state actors, or other copycat organizations,” says Adrienne Hall, general manager of crisis management at Microsoft. “To address this risk, today we are providing additional security updates along with our regular Update Tuesday service. These security updates are being made available to all customers, including those using older versions of Windows.”