Windows XP to Become a Hacker’s Dream in 2014, Experts Warn

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Is your older computer a ticking time bomb?new article in PC Pro warns that computers running Windows XP are about to become exactly that, with the operating system’s 2014 support deadline likely to serve as a “starting pistol for hackers.”

On April 8, 2014, Microsoft will officially discontinue support for its then 13-year-old Windows XP operating system. That means the company will no longer release security updates and patches for XP after that date, no matter how severe or urgent the threat. Microsoft will continue to offer security updates as needed for Windows 7 and 8.

The lack of support for Windows XP is a major concern for everyone, not just owners of older computers –NetMarketShare estimates 31.2% of PCs currently run Windows XP. Many of these are owned and operated by large businesses. A single unpatched security hole could put millions of their customers at risk for data loss and theft.

“The very first month that Microsoft releases security updates for supported versions of Windows, attackers will reverse-engineer those updates, find the vulnerabilities and test Windows XP to see if it shares [them],” Tim Rains, director of Microsoft’s Trustworthy Computing group, told PC Pro. “Since a security update will never become available for Windows XP to address these vulnerabilities, Windows XP will essentially have a zero-day vulnerability forever.”

Given the fact that there are hundreds of millions of computers running XP, it’s possible that Microsoft will be strong-armed by public opinion into releasing urgent security updates even after the April 8 deadline. Still, there are no guarantees.

If your computer still runs XP, you’ll want to make sure you upgrade your operating system before April 8, 2014 to make sure you stay protected. Microsoft suggests that older computers may struggle to run the most recent Windows 8.1, so upgrading to Windows 7 may be your best option if you must keep your current computer. Microsoft has stopped selling Windows 7, but many retailers such as Amazon should continue to have upgrade copies available well into the new year.

Given the price of upgrading your operating system, though, you’re likely better looking into a new, more modern computer. Techlicious recommends you check out the Dell Inspiron 17, our pick for the best laptop under $500.

For more about Microsoft’s decision to discontinue support for Windows XP, visit the Microsoft website.

This article was written by Fox Van Allen and originally appeared on Techlicious.

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17 comments
fps_dean
fps_dean

Where exactly does Microsoft say that Windows 7 should be used for computers that can't run Windows 8.1?  I doubt they actually said that, especially considering Windows 8.1 runs much faster than Windows 7 and can run on much slower hardware.


Way to provide bad info!

carlfxi
carlfxi

why don't Microsoft charge XP users for the security updates then ?

robert3242
robert3242

Or dump the hot, steaming mess which has always been Windows and get a real operating system, many of which are available free of charge.

EvaneNoah
EvaneNoah

Windows Xp is the most stable version ever made,don't try to do some publicity stuff for  the other failing version (like w7 and 8).

I'll use it  until my death

leonet1973
leonet1973

Not True... there is no risk, i have windows xp since more than 10 years and never use the security update from microsoft.

RickHunter
RickHunter

"Microsoft suggests that older computers may struggle to run the most recent Windows 8.1, so upgrading to Windows 7 may be your best option if you must keep your current computer. Microsoft has stopped selling Windows 7, but many retailers such as Amazon should continue to have upgrade copies available well into the new year."

Which is a crock of $h(*)t... most people don't want Micro$oft's crappy Windows 8 O$ much like they didn't want their crappy Vi$ta O$.  Desktop computers are NOT MEANT to be run like their crappy tablet/phones.


I have two machines, a Win7 and a WinXP... I use the XP much more than my Win7.  Why?!?  Because it still BLOODY WORKS!


WIndows 8 is nothing more than a pure money grab because they know they already blew their load on decent products and now have nothing left original to offer people except to force $h(*)tty products on people who don't want them.

tcement
tcement

Just finished NYS jury duty. During prosecution PC presentation, I noticed that court is still using XP. My doctor's office is still running XP. On my last visit to NYU Langone Medical Center, I noted that they are still using XP. My dentist is still using XP. Me? I use XP, 7, 8.1 and occasionally OS X something or other and a Linux or two. Let the games begin.

PaulDirks
PaulDirks

I still run XP in Virtual machine mode on my windows seven box because I have plenty of software which the win 7 upgrade broke.


It appears that the only way Microsoft has to jumpstart the PC market is to render current machines unusable. If you don't think that's a ripoff then you clearly aren't paying attention.

eagle11772
eagle11772

I like XP.  I use it on 4 pc's.  I've used many older versions of Windows as well a Windows 7.  I didn't like Windows 7 and for my purposes, Windows XP works for me.  I keep all my important things on a pc which is never used on the web.  And the pc I use for the web, this one, I don't keep any important things on.  works for me.  And yes, I have used Linux.

jeff3
jeff3

Linux is the best bet. The "hackers dream" is a bit sensational, since most XP machines will be sitting behind a router firewall. (probably Linux as well) I never used the update facility anyway, most updates were supplied in order to satisfy the US Defense Department. John Doe doesn't really need them. They just give him the illusion that he is getting "service" from MS.... 

krishna2642
krishna2642

I already moved to using Linux on my personal desktop and I will never use Windows again in my  personal computers.

Linux is more stable and virus and malware free than windows. Modern Linux distributions are easy to install and use. I see no point in paying for software when high quality software is available for free.

Denesius
Denesius

"looking into a more modern computer...." and the recommendation is a system running win-8. How about some real advice, like upgrading to a system such as iOS,  that doesn't have all these flaws in the first place.

obummer
obummer

Great company, great support, happy Y2K.

eagle11772
eagle11772

@Denesius The Microsoft black helicopters will be circling your house pretty soon for saying that.  And Microsoft will erase all electronic evidence that you even existed from pc's world-wide.  You won't even be a memory.....