Windows XP users have been urged to make it their New Year’s resolution to upgrade their operating system before the April 2014 support deadline.
In less than four months, Microsoft will cease all support for what has become the most popular operating system of all time and many have warned that this date will act as a ‘starting pistol for hackers’.
While Microsoft will not revoke licences and XP will continue to run, any vulnerability discovered in the system will no longer be patched. The fear is that hackers will scrutinise new updates for vulnerabilities that might be applicable to XP.
A zero-day vulnerability forever
Reported by telegraph.co.uk, Tim Rains, the director of Microsoft’s Trustworthy Computing group, commented, “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].”
“Windows XP will essentially have a zero-day vulnerability forever,” he added.
Given the many predictions of impending doom, it is staggering that so many users, both personal and professional, have yet to take any action. In fact, statistics suggest that XP continues to enjoy a 30 per cent share of the OS market.
Users should act before 8th April deadline
Many businesses have said that they intend on taking certain XP machines offline to circumnavigate security threats. Others are of the opinion that if enough people refuse to upgrade, Microsoft might rethink its support lifecycle policy. However, this seems unlikely.
XP is not the only software being retired this April; Small Business Server 2003, Exchange 2003 and Windows Server 2003 will also meet their maker.
However, it is Windows XP that was the crowning glory of Microsoft’s march to PC domination. It was the first operating system to remove many of the pain points in personal computing. While it will be sorely missed, users are being strongly urged to upgrade before 8th April.