MICROSOFT has issued an urgent security warning instructing Windows users to immediately install an update to prevent being hacked.
The warning was issued by the software giant on Tuesday after security researchers found a pressing vulnerability in the operating system.
The security flaw, dubbed PrintNightmare, affects the Widows Print Spooler Service – which allows multiple users to access a printer.
Researchers with the cybersecurity firm Sangfor accidentally published a guide providing steps for how to exploit it, CNN reports.
The document was accidentally tweeted back in May and hastily deleted.
However, as is typical with the internet, it was hastily saved a re-shared across the web before the post was taken down.
According to Microsoft, the vulnerabilities could be exploited by hackers to download and install new programs to your device, steal and delete data, as well as creating new user accounts with full access rights.
Such access would allow hackers – without your knowing – to take full command and control of your PC, likely doing huge amounts of damage in the process.
It isn't just Windows 10 that's affected by the incident.
Windows 7 is also said to be susceptible to the same weakness.
Released in 2009, Microsoft ended support for Windows 7 last year and announced it would no longer be issuing patches of the software.
However, in light of the vulnerability, Windows has released a fix for the operating system, highlighting the severity of the issue.
Updates for Windows Server 2016, Windows 10, version 1607, and Windows Server 2012 will are "expected soon," Microsoft said in a release.
"We recommend that you install these updates immediately," the Bill Gates-founded company continued.
Microsoft hasn't released a patch for Windows 11, its newest operating system which is currently available in beta form.
According to CNN, the current security update is cumulative, which means it contains previous fixes for prior security issues too.
Microsoft has been embroiled in a slew of safety issues over the last 18 months.
In 2020, the National Security Agency (NSA) informed Microsoft of a major flaw to its operating system that could allow hackers to pose as legitimate software companies.
Then in March of this year, hundreds of thousands of Exchange users from around the work were targeted by Chinese hackers.
The email and calendar program had four vulnerabilities in its software that allowed hackers to access servers, officials said.
Microsoft was also the target for the devastating SolarWinds hack, that saw at least nine federal agencies targeted by hackers in a suspected Russia spying campaign.
At least 100 private-sector businesses were also compromised.
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