BlueKeep: A Critical Security Risk for Windows 7 Users
How to Download and Install the BlueKeep Patch for Windows 7
If you are still using Windows 7, you may be at risk of a serious security vulnerability called BlueKeep. This vulnerability can allow hackers to remotely access and control your system, and even spread malware to other computers on your network. In this article, we will explain what BlueKeep is, how to check if your system is vulnerable, and how to download and install the patch that fixes it.
What is BlueKeep and Why Should You Care?
BlueKeep is a serious security vulnerability that affects older versions of Windows
BlueKeep, also known as CVE-2019-0708, is a security flaw that was discovered in Microsoft's Remote Desktop Protocol (RDP) implementation. RDP is a feature that allows you to connect to another computer over a network or the internet. BlueKeep affects all unpatched Windows NT-based versions of Windows from Windows 2000 to Windows Server 2008 R2 and Windows 7.
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BlueKeep can allow remote code execution and wormable attacks
BlueKeep is classified as a "wormable" vulnerability, meaning that it can be exploited without any user interaction or authentication. A hacker can send specially crafted packets to an RDP-enabled system and execute arbitrary code on it. This code can then perform malicious actions, such as stealing data, installing malware, or creating backdoors. Moreover, the code can also scan for other vulnerable systems on the same network or the internet, and infect them as well. This can create a large-scale outbreak of cyberattacks, similar to what happened with Conficker and WannaCry in the past.
BlueKeep has been patched by Microsoft, but many users have not updated their systems
Microsoft issued a security patch for BlueKeep on May 14, 2019, as part of its monthly update cycle. The patch includes an out-of-band update for several versions of Windows that have reached their end-of-life, such as Windows XP. Microsoft strongly recommends that all users apply the patch as soon as possible, as it is the only way to prevent exploitation of the vulnerability. However, many users have not updated their systems yet, either because they are unaware of the threat, or because they have disabled automatic updates. According to some estimates, there are still millions of devices that are vulnerable to BlueKeep.
How to Check If Your Windows 7 System Is Vulnerable to BlueKeep
You can use a free tool called RDPScan to scan your system for the vulnerability
One of the easiest ways to check if your system is vulnerable to BlueKeep is to use a free tool called RDPScan. This tool was developed by Robert Graham, a security researcher who also created Mass Scan, a tool that can scan the internet for vulnerable devices. RDPScan is a command-line tool that you can download from GitHub and run on your system. It will scan your local IP address and tell you if your system is vulnerable, patched, or not listening for RDP connections. You can also scan other IP addresses or ranges to check for other devices on your network or the internet.
You can also check the version of your Remote Desktop Protocol (RDP) service
Another way to check if your system is vulnerable to BlueKeep is to check the version of your RDP service. You can do this by opening the Services app on your system and looking for the Remote Desktop Services entry. Right-click on it and select Properties. Then, go to the General tab and look at the Path to executable field. You will see a file name that ends with termsrv.dll and a number that indicates the version of the file. If the number is lower than 6.1.7601.24441, then your system is vulnerable and needs to be patched. If the number is equal to or higher than 6.1.7601.24441, then your system is patched and safe from BlueKeep.
You can also check if you have Network Level Authentication (NLA) enabled for RDP
A third way to check if your system is vulnerable to BlueKeep is to check if you have Network Level Authentication (NLA) enabled for RDP. NLA is a feature that requires users to authenticate themselves before establishing an RDP connection. This can prevent unauthenticated attackers from exploiting BlueKeep, as they will not be able to send malicious packets to the RDP service. However, NLA is not a complete solution, as it can be bypassed by some techniques, such as credential theft or relay attacks. Therefore, you should still patch your system even if you have NLA enabled. To check if you have NLA enabled, you can go to the Control Panel and open the System app. Then, go to the Remote settings tab and look at the Remote Desktop section. If you see a checkbox that says "Allow connections only from computers running Remote Desktop with Network Level Authentication", then you have NLA enabled. If not, then you don't have NLA enabled and you are more vulnerable to BlueKeep.
How to Download and Install the BlueKeep Patch for Windows 7
You can download the patch from the Microsoft Update Catalog website
The official way to download and install the BlueKeep patch for Windows 7 is to use the Microsoft Update Catalog website. This website contains all the updates that Microsoft has released for its products, including security patches. You can search for the patch by using its KB number, which is KB4499175 for Windows 7 32-bit and KB4499175 for Windows 7 64-bit. You can also use this link to go directly to the page that contains the patch for Windows 7. Once you find the patch that matches your system architecture, click on the Download button and save the file on your computer. Then, run the file and follow the instructions to install the patch. You may need to restart your computer after installing the patch.
You can also use Windows Update to install the patch automatically
Another way to download and install the BlueKeep patch for Windows 7 is to use Windows Update, which is a built-in feature that automatically downloads and installs updates for your system. To use Windows Update, you need to have automatic updates enabled on your system, which is recommended by Microsoft for security reasons. You can check if you have automatic updates enabled by going to the Control Panel and opening the Windows Update app. Then, go to the Change settings tab and look at the Important updates section. If you see a dropdown menu that says "Install updates automatically (recommended)", then you have automatic updates enabled. If not, then you can change it to enable automatic updates.
If you have automatic updates enabled, then Windows Update will download and install the BlueKeep patch for you in the background, without any user intervention. However, this may take some time, depending on your internet speed and system configuration. You can also manually check for updates by clicking on the Check for updates button on the Windows Update app.
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You can also use a third-party tool called WSUS Offline Update to download and install the patch offline
A third way to download and install the BlueKeep patch for Windows 7 is to use a third-party tool called WSUS Offline Update. This tool allows you to download all the updates that Microsoft has released for Windows, including the BlueKeep patch, and save them on a USB drive or a DVD. You can then use this drive or DVD to install the updates on any Windows system, even if it is offline or has a slow internet connection. This can be useful if you have multiple Windows systems that need to be patched, or if you want to have a backup of the updates in case of an emergency.
To use WSUS Offline Update, you need to download the tool from its official website and run it on a computer that has internet access. Then, you need to select the version of Windows that you want to download the updates for, and click on the Start button. The tool will download all the updates and save them on a folder called "client". You can then copy this folder to a USB drive or burn it to a DVD. To install the updates on your Windows 7 system, you need to run the UpdateInstaller.exe file from the "client" folder and follow the instructions. You may need to restart your computer after installing the updates.
How to Protect Your Windows 7 System from Other Security Threats
You should upgrade to a newer version of Windows, such as Windows 11, as soon as possible
The best way to protect your Windows 7 system from other security threats is to upgrade to a newer version of Windows, such as Windows 11, as soon as possible. Windows 7 reached its end-of-life on January 14, 2020, which means that Microsoft no longer provides security updates or technical support for it. This means that any new vulnerabilities that are discovered in Windows 7 will not be fixed by Microsoft, and your system will become more exposed to cyberattacks. Moreover, some software and hardware vendors may stop supporting Windows 7, which means that you may not be able to use some of the latest features and devices on your system.
Windows 11 is the latest version of Windows that was released by Microsoft on October 5, 2021. It offers many improvements and new features over Windows 7, such as a redesigned user interface, faster performance, better security, enhanced compatibility, and more. Windows 11 also supports Android apps, which means that you can run some of your favorite mobile apps on your PC. To upgrade to Windows 11, you need to have a compatible device that meets the minimum system requirements. You can check if your device is compatible by using the PC Health Check app from Microsoft. If your device is compatible, you can download and install Windows 11 for free by using the Windows Update app or the Media Creation Tool from Microsoft.
You should use a reliable antivirus software and keep it updated
Another way to protect your Windows 7 system from other security threats is to use a reliable antivirus software and keep it updated. Antivirus software is a program that can detect and remove malware, such as viruses, worms, trojans, spyware, ransomware, and more. Malware can harm your system in various ways, such as stealing your personal information, encrypting your files, displaying unwanted ads, slowing down your performance, and more. Antivirus software can prevent malware from infecting your system or remove it if it is already present.
There are many antivirus software available in the market, both free and paid. Some of the most popular ones are Avast Free Antivirus, Bitdefender Antivirus Plus, Kaspersky Anti-Virus, McAfee Total Protection, Norton AntiVirus Plus, and more. You can choose the one that suits your needs and budget. However, you should make sure that you only use one antivirus software at a time, as using multiple ones can cause conflicts and errors on your system. You should also make sure that you update your antivirus software regularly, as new malware variants are constantly being created by hackers. You can update your antivirus software manually or automatically by using its settings.
You should avoid opening suspicious links and attachments in emails and messages
A third way to protect your Windows 7 system from other security threats is to avoid opening suspicious links and attachments in emails and messages. These links and attachments can be used by hackers to trick you into downloading malware or revealing your personal information. For example, they may send you an email that looks like it is from a legitimate company or organization, such as your bank or government agency, but actually contains a malicious link or attachment that can infect your system or steal your data.
To avoid falling for these scams, you should always be careful when opening emails and messages from unknown or untrusted sources. You should also check the sender's address and domain name carefully for any spelling errors or inconsistencies. You should also hover over any links before clicking on them to see where they lead to. If you are not sure about an email or message, you should delete it or contact the sender directly to verify its authenticity. You should also avoid opening any attachments that have unusual or suspicious file extensions, such as .exe, .bat, .scr, .vbs, .zip, and more. These files can contain executable code that can run on your system and cause damage. You should also scan any attachments that you do open with your antivirus software before opening them.
BlueKeep is a dangerous security vulnerability that affects Windows 7 and other older versions of Windows. It can allow hackers to remotely access and control your system, and even spread malware to other devices on your network or the internet. To protect your system from BlueKeep, you should download and install the patch that Microsoft has released as soon as possible. You can download the patch from the Microsoft Update Catalog website, use Windows Update to install it automatically, or use a third-party tool called WSUS Offline Update to install it offline. You should also check if your system is vulnerable to BlueKeep by using a tool called RDPScan, checking the version of your RDP service, or checking if you have NLA enabled for RDP. In addition, you should upgrade to a newer version of Windows, such as Windows 11, use a reliable antivirus software and keep it updated, and avoid opening suspicious links and attachments in emails and messages. By following these steps, you can keep your Windows 7 system safe from BlueKeep and other security threats.
What is the difference between RDP and Remote Desktop?
RDP stands for Remote Desktop Protocol, which is a protocol that allows remote desktop connections between computers. Remote Desktop is a feature that uses RDP to enable users to connect to another computer over a network or the internet. Remote Desktop can be accessed through the Remote Desktop app on Windows or other platforms.
How do I enable or disable RDP on my Windows 7 system?
To enable or disable RDP on your Windows 7 system, you can go to the Control Panel and open the System app. Then, go to the Remote settings tab and look at the Remote Desktop section. You can choose one of the three options: "Don't allow connections to this computer", "Allow connections from computers running any version of Remote Desktop (less secure)", or "Allow connections only from computers running Remote Desktop with Network Level Authentication (more secure)". The last option is recommended for security reasons.
How do I know if my Windows 7 system is 32-bit or 64-bit?
To know if your Windows 7 system is 32-bit or 64-bit, you can go to the Control Panel and open the System app. Then, look at the System type field under the System section. It will tell you if your system is 32-bit or 64-bit.
How do I create a backup of my Windows 7 system?
To create a backup of your Windows 7 system, you can use the Backup and Restore feature that is built into Windows. You can access this feature by going to the Control Panel and opening the Backup and Restore app. Then, you can click on the Set up backup button and follow the instructions to choose what files and settings you want to backup, where you want to save the backup, and how often you want to backup. You can also use the Create a system image option to create a complete copy of your system that you can use to restore your system in case of a failure.
Where can I get more information about BlueKeep and other security issues?
You can get more information about BlueKeep and other security issues by visiting the Microsoft Security Response Center website, which contains official announcements and updates from Microsoft regarding security vulnerabilities and patches. You can also visit the National Cybersecurity and Communications Integration Center website, which provides alerts and tips from the US Department of Homeland Security regarding cybersecurity threats and best practices.