Posted on September 28, 2020 at 12:36 PM
The constant reports on data leak show that hackers are seriously getting busy across all social networks and organizations to compromise and leak important data to the public.
A recent report reveals that the Windows XP source code was compromised and exposed all over the internet last week.
Torrent files for source codes of both Windows Server and Windows XP 2003 have been shared on different file sharing sites this week. This exposure makes it the first time the operating system’s source code has been exposed online.
Security researchers have also verified that the leaked database is genuine. A spokesperson from Microsoft revealed that the company is investigating the incident, and will let the public know when something important comes up during the investigation.
However, this latest data leak may not pose a serious problem for those business organizations still using the Windows XP systems. Microsoft stopped sharing any patch or updates for Windows XP since 2014, although the company did release a patch in 2017 after the massive WannaCry malware attack.
Microsoft’s security program may not be enough
Although this is the first time the Windows XP source code is leaked to the public, the company runs a special Government Security Program (GSP) which enables organizations and governments to have controlled access to source codes.
A few years ago, about 1GB of data Windows 10-related data was exposed online. Also, this year Microsoft had to deface some Xbox-related source code leaks. Back in May, genuine Windows NT 3.5 and Xbox source codes were exposed online only a few weeks after the Xbox series code was hacked and exposed online.
But for this leak, there is no clear information regarding the size of the Windows XP source code data leaked online.
Some parts of the source code leak included MS-DOS, which is the company’s Windows CE operating system, and other exposed Microsoft materials. Strangely, the leaked files also included references to Bill Gates’ conspiracy theories, which is clearly an attempt at spreading disinformation.
Earlier last week, Twitter was hit again as the accounts of prominent individuals like Bill Gates and Elon Musk were leaked. This led to more tightening Twitter’s internal security. However, as the US presidential election is coming close, it seems hackers will still try their luck to infiltrate systems.
The US Justice Department has been busy this month, with several arrests made already. Earlier this month, the department arrested 179 darknet vendors globally in a coordinated effort with some European law enforcement authorities.
They said the suspects were arrested due to the intelligence report they got after the Wall Street market held in May last year.
Facebook has also been involved in a lot of cleansing and security updates, as it dismantled disinformation networks from Russian military intelligence, the Philippines, and China.
Also, researchers were able to discover adware in apps after a tip from a kid on a suspicious TikTok profile. The app has already been downloaded more than 2 million times before it was discovered.
Older OS are constant targets for hackers
Windows XP’s refusal to go extinct has led to a lot of security issues, as Microsoft has stopped issuing patches for the version a long time ago. That means any vulnerabilities within the Windows XP will not get patched, leaving it exploitable to cybercriminals. So, those who still run the XP package are left exposed and vulnerable to attack, which is what happened last week.
Hackers can identify potential weaknesses in a system when they comb through source codes. This makes it easier for hackers to design malware against the Microsoft OS system, which may probably not have a security answer against the malware.
There are reports the source code has been exposed privately since last year, which means some users of the Windows XP version may have been compromised already. This data leak is another example that shows what damage hackers can cause systems and servers that have not been updated. It’s also a warning to users who have not bothered to upgrade to a newer version of Microsoft OS, which receives updates regularly.