What you need to know
- Alleged Windows XP source code has leaked online.
- The leak spread via 4chan, where posters shared download links.
- Windows XP officially reached its end-of-life date in 2014.
Alleged source code for Windows XP leaked online this week. The leak was spread in a thread on the anonymous forum 4chan, which linked to archives of both the alleged Windows XP source code along with source code for other Microsoft products. Notably, the archive includes the Windows NT 3.5 and original Xbox source code dumps that appeared online in May.
Though there was debate among 4chan posters over the legitimacy of the leak, some security researchers have begun digging into the code and have spoken to its veracity. That could change as researchers dig deeper.
"We are investigating the matter," a Microsoft spokesperson told Windows Central in a statement.
If the leak is legitimate, it could expose any remaining Windows XP-based systems to new attacks. However, Microsoft hasn't supported Windows XP in any meaningful way since it reached its end-of-support date in 2014, which marked the end of security updates for the aging operating system. Still, according to the latest data from NetMarketShare, Windows XP PCs account for roughly 1.26 percent of PCs that generate web traffic around the world.
Interestingly, while this would be the first time Windows XP source code has gone public, Microsoft already shares its code with governments and university researchers around the world. As noted by SwiftOnSecurity, Microsoft has had a program in place since 2001 to share its source code with governments and institutions as a way to independently provide a check on the security of its software.
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