Support for Windows XP has ended – what does that mean for you?

April 10th, 2014 | Posted by remoteworld in Computer Security and You

From Microsoft.com:
“As of April 8 2014, your XP computer is no longer receiving automatic updates that help protect your personal information. Even if you have anti-virus software, your computer may not be fully secure.”

From Matt Smith on DigitalTrends.com:
“In truth, nothing will immediately change. End-of-support does not negatively impact existing XP installations in any way. No features will be disabled, no upgrades will be forced, and even technical support will still be relatively easy to come across. Literally millions of articles have been published about tweaking or fixing XP, and they won’t disappear overnight.”

With all due respect to Matt, Microsoft Security Essentials will no longer run or work on XP machines, for no apparent reason other than the fact Microsoft wants to force you to buy a new (Microsoft!) product.

Over a quarter of online computers used throughout the world (27.7%) use Windows XP. The end of support from Microsoft means that update security patches will no longer be provided, exposing users to infiltration by viruses (which bloody well happened too easily anyway!). Those who make these viruses will definitely be targeting the enormous number of computers that will now lack the latest protection.

“What once was considered low-hanging fruit by hackers now has a big neon bull’s eye on it,” Patrick Thomas (a security consultant at the San Jose, California-based Neohapsis) told The Associated Press.

Your computer will still work, but getting online with it will now (and increasingly) be much more dangerous. In talking to the AP, Marcin Kleczynski, CEO of Malwarebytes, noted that those who engineer viruses will be able to use future security patches released for Microsoft’s Windows 7 and Windows 8 as blueprints to reverse-engineer ways to attack computers running Windows XP.

Teena Hammond of TechProResearch.com reports that in their survey:

“…it was a bit startling to find that 37 percent of respondents do intend to continue using the venerable OS despite the fact that Microsoft will no longer develop security patches or updates for it.”

AN internet filter that removes all malicious content before it gets to your computer may be an option, which is what many of the 37% of companies mentioned above will do. Such a device is expensive, but no more than a new computer.  In the end most users will be forced to buy a new computer or upgrade to an operating system that uses much less resources than required by a new Windows system, such as more memory and a better CPU. Windows users that switch to a non-Windows product may have a bit of a learning curve ahead of them, but the increase in security and speed may be well worth it. There are many available systems out there, but we would recommend one of the following:

 

Staying safe for now

  1.   Make sure you back up all your files.
  2. Make sure you have recovery disks stored safely away.
  3. Make sure you have all the Microsoft updates for XP installed.
  4. Use a Limited Account while on the Internet instead of an Administrator account. Create one for that use if necessary.
  5. Have a good suite of anti-virus protection installed – and keep it up to date!
  6. Have your computer behind a router and a firewall.
  7. Be wary of downloading anything from advertizing sites, game sites, etc. Learn not to just click on links without thinking “Am I really interested in this enough to chance it?”
  8. Do research on ANYTHING even remotely questionable.
  9. READ our keep-it-clean page.

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