Are you ready for the big Windows XP switch off?

In April 2014 Microsoft will stop releasing security fixes for Windows XP. Doesn’t sound very scary does it? However you should be very scared. I can understand why people hang on to XP, but let me explain why I think it’s time to let it go.

Every version of Windows has been an evolution, some bigger than others, but each one contains a large chunk from the previous version. Even Windows 8.1 will have some parts from Windows XP.

At the moment if Microsoft finds a bug in any version of Windows it will check all of the others to see if they are affected as well. That’s why security patches often apply to several versions of Windows. After April 2014 Microsoft will stop doing this for Windows XP. So what?, I hear you say.

The problem is that the bad guys will be watching for these security fixes after April, and those fixes will tell them where the holes are. Then they will look to see if those holes exist in XP. In a lot of cases the holes will be there – and they are not going to be closed.

Every Windows XP PC will become significantly more vulnerable.

You need to start replacing or upgrading those PCs now, if you don’t you run the risk of serious disruption to your business. Please, you have time, don’t waste it.

Further reading:

Microsoft Security Blog: The Risk of Running Windows XP After Support Ends April 2014
http://blogs.technet.com/b/security/archive/2013/08/15/the-risk-of-running-windows-xp-after-support-ends.aspx

ComputerWorld: XP’s retirement will be hacker heaven, Hackers will bank bugs until after Microsoft retires Windows XP in April 2014; expect attacks, say security experts
http://www.computerworld.com/s/article/9241585/XP_s_retirement_will_be_hacker_heaven

 

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