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Security Risks of Using XP after April 8th

Windows XP used to be everyone’s favorite operating system, and for good reason too. Almost 38% of people still use it. That is astonishing. Over one-third of the worlds computers still run on the quite capable XP. New Jersey people have been quite content not to upgrade to the debacle called Windows Vista or to pay from the upgrade to Windows 7 or Windows 8. Unfortunately, for those people, Microsoft will be ending the support of Windows XP, next Tuesday, April 8th. This will make thing difficult for users in general, but the biggest issue, by far, is the increase security risks users will have. If you are one of those content Windows XP users, here are some of the security risks involved with using  XP after April 8th.

XP on Its Own

There are a few big problems with Windows XP running on its own. Microsoft computers are extremely weak unless they are tended very carefully. Without support from Microsoft, all help that New Jersey XP users get will be from third party developers, who don’t have the expertise and master code that Microsoft does. Nik Simpson, and Analyst at Gartner said,“The risk of security breaches on systems running Windows XP beyond April 2014 is high. Malware developers are almost certainly saving Windows XP exploits until the end of life (EOL) deadline to make them more effective.”Essentially, virus makers are waiting till all the shields are down before they start attacking. Simpson went on to say,“In addition, malware developers will use future patches issued for later Windows operating systems as a ‘road map’ for discovering exploitable holes in Windows XP. Therefore, maintaining security of Windows XP once Microsoft stops issuing security patches will be challenging”.

It will be very hard for people, especially businesses, to maintain their Window XP machines. The only defense they will get is through third party developers. Microsoft would like all XP users to upgrade their current computer systems. So, by eliminating support, Microsoft ceases to be the enabler for users who had previously refused to upgrade. That being said, there are of course going to be some users who choose to keep XP regardless. They are at somewhat of a fiscal disadvantage. All of the other developers will be able to increase their prices infinitely, because they know that they provide the only options available. So, New Jersey Windows XP users have three viable options. You can upgrade to a newer Windows OS, complete with all the hassles that follow; you can keep XP and pay through the nose to third party vendors, or you can keep XP and risk having all of your data corrupted and erased by malware.

It is very important for New Jersey XP users understand that without the critical updates to their security, they will be completely open to attack from viruses, spyware, and other malware that can encrypt, delete, and steal all of their important files.  Although official support ends on April 8th, Microsoft will still have support for the Malicious Software Removal Tool from through July 14th of 2015. This buffer period will allow users to upgrade their OS or secure third party protection before the storm of viruses blows in.

How Bad Can It Get?

Scott Kinka is the chief officer of technology at Evolve IP. When talking about Windows XP’s potential security risks, he said, “This involves every form of malware possible. Just assume someone is on your PC while you’re working. Every password, trade secret and bit of personal information is at risk.” This is a rather sobering analysis that should put upcoming events into perspective. When vulnerability comes up in a newer operating system, it gets patched. These patches will cease to come out for Windows XP. Malware writers can take the patches for Windows 7 and use them as how-to guides to destroy Windows XP. Unfortunately, all the forthcoming problems won’t be with main security. All the support for all of the old programs with also be phasing out, so they are at risk also.

Incentives to Upgrade

There are a variety of reasons that users still have Windows XP. Some people don’t know or care that XP will be dropped. Others intend to keep using programs that are specific to Windows XP. What some users don’t know is that Windows 7 can run in XP mode. In light of future events, it should only be run when it is not connected to the internet.

The best solution, especially for security, is to upgrade to Windows 7 or Windows 8. This have a variety of advanced features and are fully protected and supported. New Jersey XP users need to understand that sooner or later, their XP machine will be taken advantage of. Take care of your computer before that happens. Ask a local computer technician what he would recommend for your individual computer setup.

by David Molnar