Microsoft has issued a warning to Windows 10 users to update their operating system immediately. They cited two critical vulnerabilities which could make a user's PC susceptible to malware and viruses.
The company has stated that potentially "hundreds of millions" of computers are at risk of getting infected The risk is great since Windows 10 is the most popular Windows version till date, with more than 800 million devices worldwide.
The company calls these vulnerabilities "wormable," which means that PCs could easily spread these viruses and malware without the user taking any action. The affected versions include:
- Windows 7 SP1
- Windows Server 2008 R2 SP1
- Windows Server 2012
- Windows 8.1
- Windows Server 2012 R2
- All supported versions of Windows 10, including server versions
All versions released before and after these versions are not affected.
"It is important that affected systems are patched as quickly as possible because of the elevated risks associated with wormable vulnerabilities like these, and downloads for these can be found in the Microsoft Security Update Guide. Customers who have automatic updates enabled are automatically protected by these fixes," Simon Pope, director of incident response, Microsoft Security Response Center, said in the press release.
The vulnerabilities were discovered during a regular survey of remote desktops by Microsoft. Windows 10 users, who already have the Automatic Updates option enabled are already protected. To manually update devices users can simply type "Windows Update" in the search bar and they will be able to access the update tool.
It is advisable to update immediately in case you have a Windows 10 PC and especially if you have remote access or network-level access apps enabled.
However, there is one issue you need to be aware of before updating: In case you are running a Norton or Symantec antivirus on a Windows 7 or Windows 8, you will not be able to access August security patches immediately. The companies have SHA-2 algorithm enabled, which do not let Microsoft update automatically. While Norton has been silent on the subject, Symantec has stated that the next version of the antivirus will support SHA-2.