Microsoft ended support for Windows XP back in April 2014 so the company is not on the hook for regular security or feature updates for this iteration of Windows. However, it released what it called a “highly unusual” patch for Windows XP last month after the WannaCry malware brought down over 75,000 computers in 99 countries. Microsoft has now released new Windows XP security patches to protect computers from state-sanctioned cyberattacks.
“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,” the company confirmed, adding that it’s releasing these new patches for all versions of Windows including those that are outdated.
The patches are being released for Windows XP, Windows Vista, and other unsupported versions. Microsoft says it’s taking this step due to an “elevated risk” of attacks that are similar to the WannaCry attack.
Microsoft does caution that just because it has released these security patches for the outdated versions of Windows, it doesn’t mean that it’s actively supporting those iterations yet again. The patches for all Windows versions will be available via Microsoft Download Center and Windows Update.
What the company didn’t provide is an explanation about where it was tipped off from about subsequent cyberattacks that could have been state-sanctioned. It’s only saying that it has come to know of such a possibility and that it’s taking steps preemptively to ensure users remain safe online.