Microsoft has uncovered a software bug in old versions of its Windows operating system that could be used to carry out a global-scale cyber-attack.
If the bug is discovered by hackers, they could unleash a computer virus similar to the Wannacry attack that crippled the NHS and thousands of other machines in 2017.
“Any future malware that exploits this vulnerability could propagate from vulnerable computer to vulnerable computer,” said Simon Pope, Microsofts director of incident response, in a blog post.
“While we have observed no exploitation of this vulnerability, it is highly likely that malicious actors will write an exploit for this vulnerability and incorporate it into their malware.”
Microsoft said the bug affects machines running Windows 2003, Windows XP, Windows 7 and Windows Server 2008.
Windows 7 or Windows Server 2008 are still supported by Microsoft so, as long as you have automatic updates enabled, you are automatically protected.
Windows 2003 and Windows XP are no longer supported, but the company has released a special one-off critical security update for these operating systems.