Federal authorities are warning Microsoft Windows users to update their computers in response to a security vulnerability they said could allow a hacker to view, change and delete data using malware.
The Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency — overseen by the Department of Homeland Security — released the alert Monday about a so-called “BlueKeep” vulnerability for eight different Windows operating systems. It’s only the third alert the agency has released this year.
In addition to messing with data stored on a computer, an attacker could potentially add accounts with full user rights and install programs on the computer, according to the agency.
The “wormable” vulnerability would be capable of spreading rapidly, similar to the 2017 WannaCry ransomware attacks, authorities said. That attack affected people around the world, including hospitals, factories and government agencies. A North Korean man, Park Jin Hyok, is wanted by the FBI on charges that he was involved in the attacks.
The new vulnerability affects Windows 2000, Vista, XP, 7, Server 2003, Server 2003 R2, Server 2008 and Server 2008 R2, according to authorities.
Microsoft has already issued its own notice about the security vulnerability. The company has patches available on its website to fix the issue, including for operating systems that it no longer officially supports.
The update corrects how Windows’ Remote Desktop Services handles connection requests in order to address the issue, according to Microsoft.