If you’re reading this on a computer still using the Windows XP Operating System, you should be aware of something. Starting tomorrow, Microsoft will no longer provide support for the widely popular software, first introduced in 2001. That means no further help from the Microsoft experts and no additional security patches for the especially vulnerable system.
The announcement is nothing of a surprise – or at least it shouldn’t be. Windows XP users have been warned for more than a year about the upcoming change. Now the clock is finally up for a screen that once, most likely, lit up a PC in your residence.
The news does come with a somewhat newsworthy notice. Users – who may still use Windows XP – should realize the system no longer provides optimal security covers to prevent hackers and threats from infiltrating personal data. Nearly a quarter of all XP users are still running Internet Explorer, which leaves computers virtually open to cyber criminals. Passwords, social security information, and bank records are just a few of the possible data fields a personal computer could be a holding ground for.
It’s not just a personal computer issue, either. In fact, some 95-percent of ATM machines and health industry machines operate on XP software. This leaves the consumer in a vulnerable position. However, some agencies and institutions have paid millions to have Windows extend support while machines are upgraded overtime.
Microsoft has readily promoted the need for an upgrade, which you already know if you are a savvy-Windows shopper. In fact, many new computers running the latest operating system, Windows Vista or above, have been discounted and free data transfers are offered.
The end of Windows XP
And in this digital age, the update will offset the cost of potentially losing very sensitive data.
Many of us bank online, pay taxes online, and shop online. Any of these actions could potentially be devastating to an identity if important, and otherwise personal, information ends up in the wrong hands. More and more actions are done through a computer. These actions typically store information on our computers. Without proper maintenance, which is timely and often costly, the slate is not wiped clean. In some instances, even an amateur hacker can gain control over an operating system and plant malicious viruses that suck away personal information. And that’s aside from the normal phising scams via email.
Even anti-virus software can only do so much. Without proper walls established, infiltration should be expected. The best advice for Windows users is to upgrade. It’s about time and if you’re still using Windows XP, you’re not only behind by more than a decade, you are actually missing out on a number of features. To learn more about upgrading your Microsoft platform, click here.