Millions Warned As Windows XP Support Ends In One Year

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Businesses and individuals facing heightened security risk by not upgrading

On 7 April 2014  Windows XP support will be no more, at least for those not willing to pay large sums to keep running the operating system safely, and users have been warned about the potential security threats that await.

When general support ends, users will not be protected by Microsoft’s regular security and usability updates for XP, which could mean they are more liable to machine crashes and vulnerable to attacks.

Windows XP support ending

Yet millions continue to use the operating system. Figures from StatCounter show it is still the second-most used operating system in the world, despite a significant fall in user numbers since January 2009.

Windows 7 is now far and away the most popular OS, with 55 percent market share, compared to XP’s 21 percent.

StatCounter operating systems

“Like it or not, migrating off Windows XP is no longer optional, the clock is counting down,” said Jason Fossen, principal security consultant at Enclave Consulting.

“Roughly half of all business and government computers are still running Windows XP, and the time is running out before XP’s end of life. XP vulnerabilities published after April of 2014 will be very valuable to hackers and malware designers.”

Given the UK government still widely uses Windows XP, and the ancient Internet Explorer 6 browser, it may have to pay significant sums of money to keep using the OS. Certain departments may have to do so, given the related security issues and the short amount of time

For a high fee, Microsoft will offer custom support, which offers security patches to keep organisations safe. According to analyst firm Gartner, the costs for this additional support have varied widely over the years, but can now stretch into the millions per annum.

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