Windows XP is Dead
The popular operating system Windows XP is about to become a lot less secure, yet a surprisingly high number of enterprises still expect to run parts of their business on the software.
Microsoft has ended support for XP users — meaning no new security updates will be offered. And without these security patches, anyone using the operating system leaves the network open to an attack the next time vulnerability is discovered.
Michael Fumai, chief operating officer of Blue Ridge Networks, said:
This has the potential to be a big problem, especially for businesses. The bad guys have been waiting for this sunset date, they are more prepared than many businesses, and in a lot of cases they are better funded to use this to their advantage.
Over the years, Microsoft has issued over 700 upgrades to Windows XP and about 60 percent of those updates were rated as “critical.”
It opens up the possibility for a big negative impact. People are complaining because a problem arises and now as a business you are under the gun to resolve that problem with very little time to do it.
Windows XP was released to the public in 2001, and despite newer operating systems since then (Windows 7 in 2009, and Windows 8 in 2012) a lot of businesses still use it to run important operations. Because the software is so widespread, it can be difficult for companies to ensure they are 100 percent protected. Even if a business has actively been upgrading all outdated systems, there’s still the chance that it could miss some machines, and that can cause a lot of damage, said Ken Bechtel, a malware analyst at Tenable Network Security.
Microsoft is offering some support through mid-July for XP users that can’t upgrade by the deadline and is discounting its Windows 8 Pro and Office 2013 products for small and medium-size businesses until the end of June.
Businesses and consumers that haven’t already upgraded can also help protect their networks by making sure they are running updated anti-virus software and by isolating any computers running Windows XP on a different network, Bechtel said. Point-of-sale devices and ATMs should also be isolated off the network.