In an unprecedented move, Microsoft has rolled out an important security update for older versions of Windows it had previously said it would no longer support.
This week, Microsoft announced an urgent security patch for Windows XP and Windows Vista and urged customers running those versions of its operating system, as well as more recent versions to update their software in order to prevent cyber attacks.
The decision to release the update comes in the wake of the devastating WannaCry ransomware attack last month.
Windows XP was first released in 2001 and has been obsolete for more than three years after Microsoft stopped offering support and security updates for the software in 2014.
Some 7 percent of PCs are thought to still run XP despite it being three years out of date.
However, Microsoft stressed that the release of the new security update does not mean the tech giant will once again offer support for older versions of Windows, but was rather a one time response to the growing global threat from cyber attacks.
“Today, as part of our regular Update Tuesday schedule, we have taken action to provide additional critical security updates to address vulnerabilities that are at heightened risk of exploitation due to past nation-state activity and disclosures”, Microsoft said in a blog post.
“Customers with automatic updates enabled are protected and there is no additional action required. For customers managing updates, or those on older platforms, we encourage them to apply these updates as soon as possible.
“Our decision to release these security updates for platforms not in extended support should now be viewed as a departure from our standard servicing policies,” the firm added.
“Based on an assessment of the current threat landscape by our security engineers, we made the decision to make updates available more broadly.”
If you’re still running Windows XP then you should install the security updates immediately.
You should even consider upgrading to a newer version of Windows, preferably Windows 10 or at the least Windows 8.1, which according to Microsoft were unaffected by the WannaCry ransomware attack.
Despite the majority of PCs being hit by WannaCry were found to be running Windows 7, it is not known if the release of this latest update is the result of information about a new attack which would target Windows XP.
Jonathan is our Google Nexus and Android enthusiast. He is also fanatical about football which makes it all the more strange that he should support Stockport County. In addition to writing about tech, Jonathan has a passion for fitness and nutrition and has previously written for one the UK’s leading watch and horology websites.