A poll earlier this year, found 52% of firms were still running Windows XP on at least one machine.
However, security experts recently told Tech Republic that were Microsoft to start patching unsupported operating systems regularly it could increase overall risk by encouraging people to continue using less secure OSes.
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The updates for XP and other versions of Windows, released as part of yesterday's Patch Tuesday, have fixed vulnerabilities that could be used in what Microsoft calls "attacks with characteristics similar to Wanna Crypt"."These security updates are being made available to all customers, including those using older versions of Windows," wrote Adrienne Hall, general manager of Microsoft's Cyber Defense Operations Center, adding the measure was "due to the elevated risk for destructive cyber attacks at this time".
The recent Wanna Cry/Wanna Crypt ransomware epidemic hit over 300,000 PCs in 150 countries around the globe, using worm-like capabilities to spread between unpatched Windows machines over the internet.
The Eternal Blue exploit that Wanna Cry used to spread itself between Windows machines was believed to have been crafted by the US National Security Agency (NSA), and used in its own hacking efforts.
The exploit was later revealed by the Shadow Brokers group, after it stole a cache of vulnerabilities from the NSA-linked Equation Group.