Microsoft Writes “The End” on Windows XP

Microsoft will no longer provide security updates for Windows XP beginning April 8. (Source: CNN)
Microsoft will no longer provide security updates for Windows XP beginning April 8. (Source: CNN)

This is the end. Your Windows XP computer will get its last update today. Oh, it’s not going to roll over and kick the bucket, but continuing to use it will be more and more dangerous, since any new vulnerabilities that arise won’t be patched. We checked in with a number of security experts to discuss just how risky life will be for those who continue to run XP.

Who’s Still Using XP?
Opinions on just how many systems are still running XP vary. Qualys CTO Wolfgang Kandek reports that XP’s market share has sunk from 35 percent in January 2013 to 14 percent in February 2014. He points out that “computers running XP will be very attackable in the near future.” Kandek also notes that over 70 percent of security patches in 2013 affected XP. “XP will be affected by a large percentage of the problems exposed in May, June and July” said Kandek, “but there will be no remedy.”

Peter Bright, technology editor at Ars Technica, reports a higher figure. According to Bright’s research, 28 percent of Windows computers were still running XP as of last week. “While firewalls and other measures will provide some degree of protection, widespread exploitation of these users by phishing and similar attacks remains highly probable,” said Bright. “This writer would not be the least bit surprised if the first wave of exploits for the obsolete operating system materialized on or about April 9.”

Debra Littlejohn Shinder, owner and CEO of TACteam, advises businesses to upgrade all XP systems. In a blog post she notes that despite “literally years of advance notice” 29 percent of computers that connect to the Internet are running XP. “It was fun while it lasted,” she said, “but businesses need to take a look at their system inventories and bite the bullet and upgrade any XP computers they still have.” She also suggests blocking remote workers from connecting to the corporate network from computers running XP.

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SOURCE:  Neil J. Rubenking 

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