“The End of Windows XP”
by Joan Herrmann
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As you may know as of April 8th, Microsoft will not be making updates to Windows XP or Office 2003. What this means is that if you are using Windows XP or Office 2003 in your business and a vulnerability or flaw, Microsoft will not be providing fixes, even if those vulnerabilities are being exploited by hackers. It is my belief, that flaws have already been found and cyber-criminals are just waiting to use them. The sad truth as there are a lot of medical equipment, point of sale equipment, and ATMs still using Windows XP or a customized version of it. If you have systems housing financial or medical information, upgrading your systems is not only prudent, but in many cases required. Even if you have ONE Windows XP or Office 2003 machine on your network, you are putting your business at risk. That computer can and will be a beach-head for further attacks. There are budget-friendly ways to get your systems upgraded. Many times you may already have licenses and the hardware required and will just need your IT person to reinstall the operating system and software.
It’s not too late! The sooner you are able to move, the better. We are providing a FREE Microsoft Risk Assessment for the first 12 companies that have 10 or more computers.
Over the past several years, definately since Windows 7 was released, businesses are slowly but surely replacing Windows XP. However, as of last December, around 500 million computers will still be running Windows XP. We’ve compiled the top 7 reasons why you need to give up Windows XP right away.
- Viruses, Malware, Trojans and more. Windows XP is one of the most exploited operating systems. This was improved with later releases of Windows XP, but security was bolted on after the fact. Hackers and Virus Authors have a huge library of tools to exploit your Windows XP. Many are already “zombies” and part of botnets (computers controlled by a central command to do their bidding). Windows 7 and 8 were built with security in mind from the ground up. That’s why most malicious code writers are attacking the applications now rather than the Operating System itself (see our post about Mac Viruses)
- 12 Years is a long time in Computer terms! That’s right, Windows XP is 12 years old, which is practically puts it in the senior citizen category for computer programs. In fact, it was released the same year that the first iPod was released. Since then there have been multiple generations of iPods, iPhones and iPads. No one should be running an operating system that predates the first iPod!
- Even Windows Vista is safer! Its true. Windows XP is currently the most unsafe operating system that is currently supported. Windows 7 and 8, Mac OS X, and modern versions of Linux are all safer.
- Designed for a Different Time. Windows XP was built for a different period of our computing evolution including the use of Internet Explorer (IE) 6 and smaller screens. Smartphones were essentially non-existent, Tablet computers only existed in niche markets, and laptops were huge, heavy, and expensive.
- Patches and Band-Aids. There are more patches and band-aids on Windows XP to keep it running causing Windows XP to under perform even on good hardware.
- Support is Ending. Mainstream Support for Windows XP ended in April of 2009, over 4 years ago. With only critical security updates since.
- Did I mention Malware? You can of course continue to use Windows XP, but with more malicious software than ever. Of Internet connected operating systems, Windows XP is definitely the least safe.
XP is a relic from a different time. Use it at your own risk!