Then devastating effect of WannaCry ransomware could have been reduced, but Microsoft withheld free updates for several older software like Windows XP.
If they had offered these free updates to the devices running on older Windows software, it would have slowed down the malware. It finally so happened that users of older software had to pay the price.
Microsoft demanded around $1000 from organizations, for offering customized support and protection against such attacks, according to the Financial Times. The security patch was finally offered free to all the machines running on Windows XP, but the update came too late, as many of the devices were already damaged due to WannaCry ransomware. Microsoft had already received warnings in advance during the month of March this year, regarding the risks of such an attack. It could have acted fast and offer the security patch for older systems like Windows XP.
The high price of $1000 shows that Microsoft is trying to persuade users to move in to the new and more secure OS, but at the same time, it is also making profits from charging for security issues on older versions. In addition to this, another controversial pricing issue is that Microsoft is now charging users for additional security in the latest Windows 10 version. There is a split pricing for this version, meaning that the company has now made the top most security offer as an addon feature, rather than a basic one. This has drawn a lot of criticism and it leaves the other versions of the software more vulnerable to attacks. The top security features must be added in all the versions of Windows.
Upgrade to Windows 10
Microsoft is now trying to convince users to move over to Windows 10, as many of the devices running on older software still remain vulnerable to attacks.
However, in its defense a spokesperson from Microsoft has stated to CNET that there are different reasons why organizations do not offer upgrades to software for ten or even fifteen years. However, Microsoft has always offered agreements on custom support by way of a temporary measure. He also stated that Microsoft prefers that users upgrade to the latest version in order to get the full benefits and remain protected, rather than opt for custom support. Being on a modern and updated system incorporating the newest innovations and features are the best bet against vulnerabilities. The older systems might be up to date, but do not possess the latest technologies for protection.
Some security experts are also defending the high fees charged by the company for custom support. They claim that Microsoft is trying to discourage users from continuing with Windows XP, so this is one way of doing so.
Microsoft also offers special support for government users of its software during the first year. However, the cost is rather high and this led to several organizations, including the NHS in the UK, to give up this support after the first year. This left the organization vulnerable to the WannaCry ransomware attacks recently.