As recently announced on May 14, Microsoft released a patch for its Remote Code Execution vulnerability, CVE-2019-0798, to fix its older Windows versions XP and 2003. The vulnerability has the potential to be exploited by ransomware - particularly WannaCry - in which the malware could spread from one computer to the next, hence the term “wormable”. The WannaCry ransomware strain was responsible for multiple attacks including that on Spanish mobile operator Telefonica, the NHS in the UK, railways in Germany, FedEx in the U.S., and more.
As the Microsoft Security Response Center has noted, there has been no word of this vulnerability being exploited yet, but “it is highly likely malicious actors will write an exploit for this vulnerability and incorporate it into their malware.”
Officials also noted how the vulnerability was present in the Remote Desktop Services which would allow a malicious hacker to gain access to a user’s computer to install programs, alter data, or even create new accounts. “This vulnerability is pre-authentication and requires no user interaction,” says the Microsoft team. However, Microsoft’s new update corrects the connection requests vulnerability within Remote Desktop Services.
While this vulnerability does not affect Windows 8.1 or 10, it does affect Windows 7, Windows Server 2008 and 2008 R2, as well as the previous versions Windows XP and Windows 2003. Microsoft’s Security Response Center has provided downloadable patches for both XP and 2003.
As a necessary, precautionary measure, always make sure to have a backup and data storage system - like reevert - implemented. Doing so will keep all your data safe in the event of a malware attack that tries to exploit any operating system vulnerabilities.
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