Two days ago (May 14, 2019), Microsoft released a software update to fix a vulnerability in its Remote Desktop Services, or RDS, that affects millions of computers around the world. Is your computer at risk? And what can you do about it? Continue reading below to find out.
What is RDS?
RDS stands for remote desktop services, which includes the Remote Desktop Protocol that allows other computers to connect to yours. Once connected, everything on your computer screen will become available for the other computer to view and control.
If you have contacted remote technical support agents for help, you would have used this RDS program to give the person access to your computer. But what happens if the person on the other end is not a trusted tech support agent?
Affected Operating Systems
Due to the severity of this vulnerability, Microsoft has released software updates for many operating systems, including Windows XP, Windows 2003, Windows 7, and Windows 2008. Windows 8, 8.1 and 10 were not affected. You can view the full list of affected operating systems here.
According to Microsoft, this loophole can allow a stranger to connect to your computer without your knowledge and:
“install programs; view, change, or delete data; or create new accounts with full user rights.”
Currently, millions of computer networks use RDP to connect to the internet, leaving them vulnerable to hackers who can target them to get their personal information.
How To Protect Yourself
Due to the large scale of this threat, it can potentially mirror the WannaCry attack which shut down millions of computers last year. To protect yourself, be sure to update your Windows operating system so the security patch can be installed. You can do this by going to your “Control Panel” then selecting “System and Security‘, ‘Windows Update‘ and finally ‘Check for Updates‘.
If you are unable to download this software fix, you can also try these other fixes in the list below.
Once that’s done, don’t forget to run a FixMeStick scan to make sure your computer is 100% safe and virus-free.
Don’t have a FixMeStick? You can try it here for $9.95.