The most recent malware attack, called WannaCry, targeted older versions of Windows that had vulnerable codes. For people using past versions, such as Windows Xp, Server 2003 and Windows 8, they had to pay extra to receive important updates to protect their machines from such attacks, until now.

Microsoft decided to release Security Patches for these versions for free. In a statement by the company, it said that these updates will provide protection against future attacks from malware similar to WannaCry.

The updates arrived on “Patch Tuesday,” which is the second Tuesday of the month at 10 a.m.

Pacific time.

A tough decision by Microsoft

Microsoft had a long-standing stance against providing security updates for older versions of Windows, but recent cyber attacks changed all that.

Stephen Kleynhans, research vice president at Gartner, said that it was a touch decision by the company to offer patches for unsupported versions of Windows. Microsoft would have been labeled as a villain if it didn’t release the updates and cyber attacks still persist, but at the same time, if the company did release updates, people who are paying extra money to receive such patches won’t be very happy.

Since 2014, Microsoft stopped supporting Windows XP but offered an option for a paid ongoing support and it wasn’t cheap.

Users have to pay $250 and that figure almost doubled each passing year.

Microsoft encourages users to use up-to-date versions of Windows

Although the security updates will provide some protection to older versions, Microsoft still urges people to use modern and supported versions of Windows as older ones lack the latest security features and advancements newer ones have.

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The company said that currently-supported Windows systems such as Windows 10 and Windows 8.1, will receive the said patches automatically if users have enabled Windows Update.

In addition, Microsoft said in a statement, “Our decision today to release these security updates for platforms not in extended support should not be viewed as a departure from our standard servicing policies,” according to a report by USA Today.

Microsoft still believes that the best way to prevent such attacks is to update to the latest version of Windows and the company will make it harder for people to stick to older ones.

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