Microsoft offers security update to fix critical issue in older Windows systems

Microsoft Patches 'Wormable' Flaw in Windows XP, 7 and Windows 2003

The affected versions of Windows are Windows 7, Windows XP, Windows 2003 and Windows Server 2008, so we strongly suggest downloading and applying this security fix in case you are using the aforementioned OSes.

Due to the danger it presents, Microsoft has released security updates for all of them (those for out-of-support Windows versions can be found here).

This could allow malware to propagate to vulnerable computers without authentication or user interaction like the WannaCry worm that wreaked havoc two years ago, Pope warned.

Microsoft has claimed that it has, as yet, "observed no exploitation of this vulnerability, [but] it is highly likely that malicious actors will write an exploit for this vulnerability and incorporate it into their malware". For such systems you can download updates via the Microsoft Security Update Guide or they will be delivered via automatic updates, if enabled. The company is also backporting a patch for this vulnerability to versions that are no longer supported, such as Windows 2003 and XP. (Old hardware can run very nice versions of Linux, which cost nothing.) And if you're one of those stick-in-the-muds still running Windows 7, you have eight months to update those machines to Windows 10.

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The flaw, which Microsoft described as "critical", enables an attacker to execute arbitrary code on the target system. An attacker could then install programs; view, change, or delete data; or create new accounts with full user rights.

The latter, CVE-2019-0725, is a particularly nasty memory corruption vulnerability, since all that is needed to exploit it is a well-crafted packet sent to a DHCP server and affects all now supported versions of Windows, client and server.

Elsewhere, IT admins should also fix a zero-day flaw (CVE-2019-0863), which is being exploited in the wild and has also been publicly disclosed, meaning other hackers could use it in their own attacks.

The researchers from the universities in Australia, the United States, Belgium, Austria and CSIRO's Data 61 unit noted that newer Coffee Lake Refresh i9 processors are ironically enough more vulnerable to Fallout compared to older parts, due to Intel's countermeasures against the earlier Meltdown speculative execution information leak flaw. Referred to as the May 14, 2019-KB4500154 Update, this update brings the Windows 10 Mobile operating system to build number 15254.566.

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