Instead, it held back a free repair update on machines running older software like Windows XP, the Financial Times is reporting. Microsoft wanted hefty fees of up to $1,000 a year for “custom” support and protection against attacks of the kind.
While Microsoft finally did make the patch available free of charge to Windows XP machines last Friday, damage had already been done. The company has since been trying to convince customers to switch to its newer and more secure Windows 10. Despite the lack of cover, plenty of Microsoft’s customers are still running older software that may still be vulnerable.
“Recognizing that for a variety of business reasons, companies sometimes choose not to upgrade even after 10 or 15 years, Microsoft offers custom support agreements as a stopgap measure,” said a Microsoft spokesperson in a statement to CNET.
“To be clear, Microsoft would prefer that companies upgrade and realize the full benefits of the latest version rather than choose custom support. Security experts agree that the best protection is to be on a modern, up-to-date system that incorporates the latest defense-in-depth innovations. Older systems, even if fully up-to-date, simply lack the latest protections.”
Initial WannaCry attacks were slowed by a security professional who found the ransomeware’s kill switch, but newer versions without the kill switch have appeared. While Microsoft had given government users special deals for security in the first year, high costs led organisations such as the badly hit UK’s National Health Service to discontinue support payments.
CNET en Español: Get all your tech news and reviews in Spanish.