Microsoft just gave a billion users a reason to leave Windows

Windows 10 and Windows 11 users, you need to take immediate action. A serious vulnerability was discovered in both platforms that Microsoft not only failed to fix, but actually made worse. Here’s everything you need to know.

MORE FORBESHow to Upgrade to Windows 11 for Free in 2022

A new report from BleepingComputer breaks down the problem. Tracked as CVE-2021-34484, it is a zero-day privilege escalation attack that allows hackers to take control of Windows 10, Windows 11, and Windows Server. And the shock is that Microsoft has known this for seven months.

In Microsoft’s defense, the company released two patches in an attempt to fix the flaw, but both failed. The second attempt was particularly bad because it also broke a successful third-party patch from independent security group 0patch (pronounced “Zero Patch”) that was released in November. Ironically, older, unsupported versions of Windows 10 (1803, 1809, and 2004) are the safest because Microsoft hasn’t released its second “patch” for those editions.

In response, Microsoft issued a statement to BleepingComputer acknowledging the flaw but offering no timeline for a fix, simply saying, “We are aware of this report and will take appropriate action to protect customers.” It’s worth pointing out that this statement is word-for-word identical to the one the company released after it released two more botched fixes for different flaws late last year.

The good news is that 0patch has stepped in again. The group has released a new “micro-patch” which is free to download and compatible with the latest versions of Windows 10, Windows 11 and Windows Server. To get it, create a free account in 0patch Central and install 0patch Agent.

That said, the whole saga leaves a bitter taste in the mouth. There’s a bad sense of deja vu in this last episode with a security researcher Abdelhamid Naceriwho discovered flaws in several of these patches, previously commenting, “So you better wait and see how Microsoft screws the patch again.” And here we are again.

Should I quit Windows? It is a personal decision for each user and related to individual circumstances. That said, with Apple silicon performance blowing away the vast majority of Windows PCs, there’s never been a more tempting time to do so.

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Steven L. Nielsen