WinShock is the name of a bug which, until now, remained unnoticed for nearly 19 years. The buggy code is recognized as a serious data-manipulation vulnerability which has been added to the CVE database as CVE-2014-6332. The bug has been discovered by IBM security researchers back in the summer of 2014, and it took Microsoft experts nearly half a year to patch the vulnerability. The patch has been added to the latest security updates, and Windows users may have only a small window of opportunity to activate the update before cyber criminal employ it to corrupt operating systems. The WinShock vulnerability can be used to take over the system and download malware, which means that every Windows user running the system without the installed updates is in danger.
How WinShock affects the Windows operating system
According to the report issued by Microsoft, WinShock is a bug you should take seriously. The undetected bug affects all Windows versions starting with the already-forgotten Windows 95. The support for this operating system was terminated in 2001. As you may know already, the technical support for Windows XP has been also terminated (April, 2014). Unfortunately, there are plenty of computer users who still operate these Windows versions. These users are the most vulnerable, because they will not be able to download the necessary security updates. These updates are crucial, because without them, the operating system is susceptible to the attacks of cyber criminals. Potential attackers could exploit the WinShock vulnerability to take over the control of the operating system.
WinShock is mostly dangerous to the users of the Internet Explorer browser. This web browser comes as an integral part of the Windows operating system, and so most users have it running on their PCs. If a bug is detected by attackers, they can then proceed with the installation of software that will be used to exploit the vulnerability. When attackers exploit WinShock, they can take over the administrative privileges. This can be used to take over and create accounts, download software, and initiate other illegal activity. Virtual security experts believe that the bug could be mainly used to initiate drive-by download attacks. The vulnerable operating system could be infected with Trojans, keyloggers, and other types of malicious software. Unfortunately, these programs could be extremely harmful and dangerous. Furthermore, their removal may require a lot of time and money.
So far, the WinShock bug has not been exploited, or the attacks have not been discovered yet; however, there is no doubt that the vulnerability could be exploited. Microsoft has done its part by patching the vulnerability, and now it is up to Windows users to protect their operating systems. If no security measures are taken, the WinShock bug could be exploited without any notice.
How to prevent WinShock-related attacks
If security updates are set for automatic, scheduled installation, you do not need to worry about the WinShock bug. In fact, the vulnerability has probably been patched already. Keep in mind that when your operating system warns you about the installation of security updates, you should not postpone the process. You also must keep in mind that it is not enough to update the operating system to ensure that virtual attackers cannot take over the operating system. You must install authentic security software that could prevent the intervention of malware and keep the system safeguarded. If you are operating Windows XP and older versions, it is high time you upgraded, because sooner or later your operating system will be targeted by cyber criminals. Your files could be corrupted, your private accounts could be hijacked, and your PC could be used to distribute infections.