On Sept. 24, 2020, the source code for Windows XP and Windows Server 2003 was leaked and posted on several file-sharing sites such as Mega and 4Chan. Microsoft ended support for Windows XP when it reached its end-of-support date in 2014 and for Windows Server 2003 in 2015. Therefore, any vulnerabilities discovered since then remain unaddressed (with the exception of a patch in 2017 for the WannaCry attack). Although the leaked Windows XP source code might have circulated privately even earlier, the recent leak makes it broadly available for the first time. As a result, more hackers can easily identify potential vulnerabilities for which there are no software fixes.
This blog is a follow-up to the 2020 Unit 42 IoT Threat Report with a focus on the issue of devices running on an end-of-life (EOL) version of Windows and their impact on an organization. We review the data challenges this brings up for organizations and provide information about the best solutions to address the problem. We also provide a list of detailed recommendations to mitigate the impact of this specific incident around the source code leak for Windows XP and Windows Server 2003.