The Australian Cyber Security Centre is aware of widespread abuse of a security vulnerability (called BlueKeep) that affects older versions of Windows operating systems including Windows Vista, Windows 7, Windows XP, Server 2003 and Server 2008.
Hackers can use the BlueKeep vulnerability to access computers and devices that don’t have the latest software updates.
Once a device is infected, BlueKeep can spread malware to other computers or devices on the same network – including devices which have access to a remote desktop environment if you have a business that uses this.
Does it affect me?
Any organisation or business that relies on the older Microsoft systems is at risk.
How do I stay safe?
Organisations and individuals using older versions of Windows systems should immediately install the Windows’ BlueKeep vulnerability software update at https://www.microsoft.com/security/blog/2019/08/08/protect-against-bluekeep/
If you’re a business and you use remote desktop, it’s very important to apply all the updates.
Windows users shouldn’t access Remote Desktop Protocols (RDP) directly from the internet. Use a Virtual Private Network with two factor authentication if RDPs are required, whichever version of Windows you are running.
As a rule, it’s important to always install manufacturers’ software updates as soon as possible.
On 17 May 2019 Stay Smart Online issued an Alert on how to protect older versions of Windows from security flaws such as this one.