Microsoft is about to end official support for Windows XP in 2 days. This has Millions of XP users in a tizzy. However, advanced Operating System iterations of Windows; i.e. Windows 7 and Windows 8, might have to gear up for attacks that could originate from compromised Windows XP machines.
Microsoft is pulling the life support chord of Windows XP, who has just entered its teenage years. Though the company has released multiple iterations post XP, most notable among those being Windows 7 and Windows 8, the 13 year old OS still powers on about 21% of the world’s computers. In a world where more than 90% of computers run MS Windows, this number easily goes into Millions.
Microsoft is more concerned about the people who are still clinging on to Windows XP and there is a big reason for the apprehension. Apart from the fact that Microsoft wants more people to adopt Windows 8, it has to spend Millions of Dollars each year supporting the increasingly archaic Operating System. Continually watching out for and patching security loopholes or vulnerabilities in Windows XP is a very exhaustive task especially when the OS is more than 2 generations old and cannot support newer and more sophisticated protocols that are designed to ward of attacks.
The groups that still use Windows XP have a very simple justification, ‘It Works’. Small businesses are sticking with XP because they have grown accustomed to it and it gets the job done. Moreover, companies that have custom software running atop Windows XP machines may have to junk out their entire PC line to upgrade them to run Windows 8, reports Hindustan Times.
Thereafter, they would have to pay the software development companies Millions to update their software to support the latest OS. The most notable and threatened segment is Banking since not only are the internal computers running Windows XP, but even the ATMs are using XP as the base OS, reports Bloomberg.
The situation is even more critical because many hackers have already discovered newer exploits, say security experts, but are patiently waiting for April 8 to arrive. Post the date, even if Microsoft is made aware of the security vulnerability, it may choose not to release a patch.
Since Windows XP machines will start falling prey to as yet unused exploits, these infected machines could be made slaves or zombies to launch massive and organized attacks on newer Windows 8 machines. Can Microsoft afford this?
[Images via solplus and av–test]