Windows XP is now more than 12 years old but according to data from Net Applications, it is still used on more than 31% of desktop and laptop computers around the world. Those tens of millions of PC users could be in for a very rude awakening next year once Microsoft cuts off support for the aged operating system. Microsoft itself even warned users of the imminent tsunami of viruses and other malware that will inevitably wash over XP stragglers once it stops issuing updates and fixes for the OS. Now, a recently discovered critical zero-day flaw has been acknowledged in a Microsoft support document that could cause serious problems for XP users.
“The vulnerability is an elevation of privilege vulnerability,” Microsoft said in a recent security advisory. “An attacker who successfully exploited this vulnerability could run arbitrary code in kernel mode. An attacker could then install programs; view, change, or delete data; or create new accounts with full administrative rights.”
Microsoft confirmed that it is working on a fix for the flaw, but let this serve as a warning — after April 8th next year, critical flaws like this one (and worse) will go unfixed, thus leaving gaping holes in Windows XP that are just begging for malware to exploit them.