Microsoft is planning to completely leave behind its old Windows XP operating system, meaning users will have to update to Windows 8.1 or Windows 7, or else they will be vulnerable to hackers. Microsoft plans to stop issuing security updates after April 8th. Microsoft says that Windows XP users should upgrade to Windows 7 or 8.1, which is a $120 dollar install. Adam Myers is the Vice president of intelligence at Crowdstrike, a cybersecurity firm, and he said it’s “fairly dangerous” to continue to run the 12-year-old operating system, because after April 8th “victims can’t defend themselves.” he also says, “I wouldn’t run Windows XP after the 8th.”
It was six years ago when Microsoft announced that they will no longer provide security updates for any out of date software. However, the scary fact is that about 500 million PC users still run Windows XP. Microsoft leaves a note or warning that says,
“Without critical Windows XP security updates, your PC may become vulnerable to harmful viruses, spyware, and other malicious software which can steal or damage your business data and information.”
However, a Microsoft spokesman has said they will continue to update anti-malware products until July 2015. The Microsoft Spokesman says, “We realize there are some who are still completing the migration process.”
Another major issue is that its not just your average PC users that still need to update to Windows 7 or Windows 8.1. There’s also a wide range of business, and institutions that will face serious security risks if they don’t upgrade to new software.
About 4,000 electric utilities in North America still uses outdated Windows software, according to Patrick C. Miller, who is the founder of the nonprofit Energy Sector Security Consortium. Miller says that many of utilities still run Windows XP because it costs millions of dollars, and takes years to keep all their computer software up to date. It affects these utilities immensely because they will be forced to ask state commissions to increase rates on consumers, and some of them have already been denied.
In addition banks are also affected by this major change. According to David Tente, the executive director of the ATM Industry Association, only 38 percent of the nation’s $425,000 cash machines will have upgraded from Windows XP by April 8th.
[ Image Via newsroom.unl.edu ]