Microsoft's "ransomware" patch was reportedly shipped out in February, but thousands of computers were still infected this weekend by a global cyberattack because many were slow to install the updates.
A massive cyberattack Friday affected more than 200,000 computers in 150 countries, where a virus took control of files on the machine until a ransom was paid, Europol chief Rob Wainwright, told the BBC News. Experts fear another attack could be on its way.
The ransomware, which goes by the name WannaCrypt and similar names, infected 1,000 computers in Russia's Ministry of Internal Affairs, along with machines at Great Britain's National Health Service, and the Spanish telecom provider Telefonica, Forbes reported.
The patch to fix the Microsoft networking vulnerability the ransomware used to break into computers, though, was sent out by the software giant in February, Forbes said. The fix, though, did not cover Windows XP software that Microsoft no longer services.
"How did the malware manage to spread if Microsoft had already shipped a Windows update that fixed the vulnerability WannaCrypt was exploiting?" wrote Forbes contributor Lee Mathews. "Because not everyone installs those updates in a timely manner.
"… There's often a good reason to hold off. Pushing the install button on a Windows update could have unintended consequences, and IT folks need time to make sure nothing's going to break or at the very least that such breakage can be easily fixed. There are also a lot of computers in use that simply couldn't install Microsoft's update. That's because they were running operating systems that Microsoft no longer supported, like Windows XP," Mathews continued.
Microsoft on Friday issued a statement on how customers on all of its platforms can fight the virus.
"Seeing businesses and individuals affected by cyberattacks, such as the ones reported today, was painful," Microsoft said in its statement Friday. "Microsoft worked throughout the day to ensure we understood the attack and were taking all possible actions to protect our customers.
"… Additionally, 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. Customers running Windows 10 were not targeted by the attack today," the software giant continued.
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