Redmond, Wash. – In the wake of unprecedented worldwide cyberattacks, Microsoft has issued security updates for systems that haven’t been supported in years.
Hundreds of countries have been affected by ransomware attacks that were widely reported on Friday.
The “WannaCry” malware exploits a hole in outdated Windows operating systems. It encrypts all the data it can find then demands a ransom for the encryption key.
Many users report the amount of the ransom as $300 worth of bitcoin, a form of digital currency.
Experts said hospitals and larger companies are especially susceptible to this latest attack, as they’re slow to upgrade their networks and may be using pirated programs.
Ahead of the attack, Microsoft released a security update that fixes the exploited flaw on currently supported Windows operating systems. But older systems, including Windows XP which hasn’t seen official support since 2014, were still vulnerable.
Following the WannaCry outbreak, Microsoft made the unusual move in providing updates for numerous operating systems that haven’t seen any official support in years, including XP.
While experts don’t recommend using outdated software, the company acknowledged many customers still do.
Microsoft said the vulnerability doesn’t exist within the latest version of Windows 10, but if you have an earlier version of Windows, you are encouraged to download the latest update on Microsoft’s website.