Windows 10 in the past year became the most popular operating system in the world, overtaking the ageing Windows 7 which previously held this crown.
At the end of 2018 Windows 7 was finally eclipsed by Windows 10, with the flagship Microsoft OS moving into pole position after three years of trying.
In December 2018 Windows 10 became the most popular OS in the world, according to stats from NetMarketShare.
And since then it has steadily increased the gap to its ageing sibling, but recent stats still give Windows 7 a hefty share of the OS market.
NetMarketShare stats for May 2019 puts Windows 7 as having a 35.44 per cent chunk of the OS marketplace compared to Windows 10’s 45.73 per cent slice.
And those running the older Microsoft OS have been put on alert about a security threat which could be “as damaging as WannaCry”.
In May Microsoft revealed a major Windows security vulnerability that could lead to a widespread “wormable” attack which spreads from PC to PC.
A similar flaw was behind the WannaCry attack in 2017 which caused worldwide mayhem, significantly impacting the computer systems of the NHS in the UK.
In the aftermath of the recent issue being discovered, which does not affect Windows 10, Microsoft released patches for old operating systems such as Windows XP and Windows 7.
But it’s been claimed by security experts that there are at least one million Windows systems that could be impacted by the latest flaw.
In a post online Robert Graham, from consultancy firm Errata Security, said: “Microsoft announced a vulnerability in it’s ‘Remote Desktop’ product that can lead to robust, wormable exploits.
“I scanned the Internet to assess the danger. I find nearly 1-million devices on the public Internet that are vulnerable to the bug.
“That means when the worm hits, it’ll likely compromise those million devices.
“This will likely lead to an event as damaging as WannaCry and notPetya from 2017 — potentially worse, as hackers have since honed their skills exploiting these things for ransomware and other nastiness.”
While Simon Pope, director of incident response at Microsoft’s Security Response Centre, said: “It’s been only two weeks since the fix was released and there has been no sign of a worm yet.
“This does not mean that we’re out of the woods. If we look at the events leading up to the start of the WannaCry attacks, they serve to inform the risks of not applying fixes for this vulnerability in a timely manner.
“Our recommendation remains the same.
“We strongly advise that all affected systems should be updated as soon as possible.
“It is possible that we won’t see this vulnerability incorporated into malware. But that’s not the way to bet.”
The latest security threat underlines the need to be running the latest software updates and patches.
Older operating systems don’t receive the support that Windows 10 does, with Windows 7 reaching its end of life next year.
After January 14 2020 Microsoft will no longer provide security updates or support for PCs running Windows 7.
Speaking about the end of Windows 7 support, the Redmond-based tech giant said: “Microsoft strongly recommends that you move to Windows 10 sometime before January 2020 to avoid a situation where you need service or support that is no longer available.”
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