Microsoft issues first Windows XP patch in 3 years to stymie ‘WannaCrypt’
Microsoft on Friday took the unprecedented step of issuing patches for long-demoted versions of Windows, including Windows XP, to immunize PCs from fast-spreading ransomware that has crippled machines worldwide.
To stymie “WannaCrypt” attacks — which encrypted files on thousands of PCs used by the U.K.’s National Health Service (NHS), causing chaos in many hospitals — Microsoft published patches for Windows XP, Windows 8 and Windows Server 2003. All had been retired from support: Windows XP in April 2014, Windows 8 in June 2016, Windows Server in July 2015.
“We are taking the highly unusual step of providing a security update for all customers to protect Windows platforms that are in custom support only, including Windows XP, Windows 8, and Windows Server 2003,” said Phillip Misner, a principal security group manager at the Microsoft Security Response Center (MSRM), in a post to a company blog late Friday.