A few months ago I posted the following article. If you happen to still be using Windows XP, I encourage you to read this and learn why sticking with XP is not really your best bet…
Ready or not, in just 80 days Microsoft will be retiring Windows XP. While this doesn’t mean that your copies of XP will stop working on April 8, 2014, it does mean that after this date Microsoft will no longer be providing security and system patch updates to the 400,000,000+ users of this 12 year-old Operating System.
“So what?” you may say, “Just as long as the computer keeps working, what do I care what Microsoft does?” Lots, it turns out. You see, hackers continue to poke and prod at XP and its thousands of sub-components as they try to find novel ways to successfully attack and take quiet control over PCs. They then turn these unwitting machines in to one of many different tools for their nefarious activities be it distributing those wonderful emails that ask you in broken English to help with extracting some bad guy’s funds out of a Nigerian bank account, or perhaps another PC is put to use in sending out offers for free samples of normally expensive medication to your aunt Lois. Perhaps another compromised PC is sitting waiting patiently for the order to help participate in our country’s next battle, a cyber battle where our own computers will be used as weapons against our government and communication systems.
One of the meanest exploits out there is the CryptoLocker virus. This infection comes along and encrypts all of your files, locking them away from you forever unless you pay a ransom of hundreds of dollars. To make matters worse, this attack has a 72-hour count-down at the end of which your data is lost forever.
There are many other examples of how these compromised PCs are used every day to attack and harm us. This is one big reason why we here at singlePOINT provide a FREE analysis of your computing infrastructure – such compromised systems harm our society and can devastate or destroy your business.
Yes, Microsoft has just announced that they are extending support for the anti-malware images for Windows XP for another 18 months, however this will only apply to you IF you happen to use Microsoft Security Essentials, which most of the world doesn’t use. While this announcement is good news, it is only the replacement of a small portion of the protective patching and updating work for XP that will permanently end this spring.
Does your organization have a plan in place for replacing Windows XP? Have you ensured that all of the software that you use will work on the replacement Operating system? What about the Web-based systems you work with, what browser will you need to move to? Is it secure enough? Are there drivers available for your printers, scanners, fax machines, mice, cameras and every other peripheral that you use, even occasionally? What Operating System have you selected? Do you have enough licenses for this version for all of your PCs? Will your PCs require any additional memory, or is it time to replace your oldest hardware? Upgrading from a great and stable Operating System like XP is a pain, but Microsoft isn’t giving the world much choice.
There are thousands of professional system hackers worldwide who are eagerly awaiting the 9th of April because they know that once Microsoft stops its work to keep Windows XP users as safe as possible, any new virus or system-based security exploit will not be countered with an automatically appearing system patch. Every day that these new attacks remain in the World Wild Web, roaming from site to site searching for another vulnerable system, the worse it will get. Users who hope that the worst won’t happen will be sitting ducks for those who for fun, war and profit will hunt them down and secretly, quietly inject their computers with a tiny bit of code that, when the time comes will activate to do harm to the owner of that PC, or to someone else far far away.
Don’t be a sitting duck, and don’t wait until the end of XP is nigh before you give us a call at singlePOINT to arrange a complimentary analysis of your computing infrastructure. There’s no obligation, no strings attached – we simply and truly want you and your computing environment to be as safe and as productive as possible. Our report to you will give you the information you will need to accomplish this, either with us or with any other IT service provider of your choice. Give us a call at (403) 465-6767 or send an email to arrange a time for us to meet and review your systems.
singlePOINT is your source for independent, professional IT analysis, advice and services. With over 30 years of IT industry experience in support of both small and Fortune-500 clients, we know what to look for and have the experience that your organization can benefit from.