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How your old Windows computer could be taken over by hackers

These are the Windows systems that are at risk of the BlueKeep vulnerability. (Source: Getty)

Australians who have computers with operating systems older than Windows 10 are being warned by Stay Smart Online to update their devices.

The online safety website said it had received reports that hackers were using a security vulnerability, dubbed ‘BlueKeep’, to download malicious software onto Microsoft devices running on old systems.

Cyber criminals will specifically target this vulnerability in old Windows systems and attack it with software code.

The danger of BlueKeep is that, once a computer is infected through this vulnerability, it doesn’t require any human interaction for it to continue spreading to other computers.

“Hackers can use the BlueKeep vulnerability as the access point into computers and devices that don’t have the latest software updates,” Stay Smart Online warned.

Once they have remote access to your device, the possibilities are endless: the cyber criminals can mine cryptocurrency, steal your data, or steal your personal and financial information.

Am I at risk?

Any Australians that have software older than Windows 10 – such as Windows Vista Windows 7 and Windows XP – is at risk, Stay Smart Online warned.

“Any organisation or business that uses older versions of Microsoft software is at risk,” it said in a statement.

“Microsoft has provided free patches for vulnerable software versions including Windows 7, Windows Server 2008 R2, and Windows Server 2008 and out-of-support systems including Windows 2003 and Windows XP.”

Here’s what you should do

If your device operates on older Microsoft software, you should head to Microsoft to download their free update that fixes the patch.

Visit here to get the Microsoft update for:

For more information on how to update your Windows software if you have Windows 7, Windows 8.1 or Windows 10, visit their FAQ page here.

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