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Users at risk as Microsoft ends support for Windows XP

By S. Hassan

Microsoft has ended support for the most famous windows software released to date – Windows XP.

Win xp

In a statement released on 8th April, Microsoft stated that there would be no ‘security updates and bug fixes’ for the operating system leaving its users vulnerable to risk of attacks from cyber-thieves.

Windows XP still rules the computers of many individuals, institutions and companies across the globe. It was introduced in 2001 followed by Windows vista, Windows 7, Windows 8 and Windows 8.1 in that order.

Second hand computers certainly come installed with windows XP and so do most ATMS.

“If you continue to use Windows XP now that support has ended, your computer will still work but it might become more vulnerable to security risks and viruses,” the software giant warned.

Win xp

A screenshot of a computer running Windows XP Professional

Vulnerability increases with increased use of the internet but you can prevent an attack by installing latest and updated versions of Anti-viruses.

ATMs will be the largest casualties although they have been ideally problem-free for extended periods without needing hands-on software support and XP was preferred for its simplicity, flexibility and reliability.

We can take heart from the fact that Vendors of anti-viruses such as MacAfee, Symantec and Kaspersky have promised to continue supporting the software but ultimately, upgrading to the latest windows operating systems or migrating to other operating systems like UNIX and Linux will be a good idea.

Migrating to the latest versions of Windows may force you to upgrade your hardware for the sake of compatibility. You may even need to buy a new computer.

Instead of upgrading, you can opt for migration to other operating systems. A good alternative will be UNIX and Linux. Upgrades for these two OS rarely require hardware replacement. Both are flexible and adaptable. They do not require expensive licenses and are known for their reliability.

Migration to these two is the most likely route that many will take. Already this is happening. In Brazil, ATMs are being moved to Linux. Europe and Asia will likely follow suit.

If you decide to continue using Windows XP for whatever reason, note the following tips:

  • Always update your antivirus software.
  • Don’t click on email attachments you don’t trust.
  • Download only from reliable websites.
  • Consider to upgrade and install latest versions of Windows.

 The writer is an ICT professional and blogs at NepICT.com

 

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