Human beings are one of the most adaptable creatures around. However, some that are still running Windows XP with no intention of upgrading claimed to have found a way to continue using the old OS while remaining protected.

Their idea is simple enough. Cut off the Internet access of their Windows XP machines.

Because the lack of an Internet connection would make it practically impossible for an attacker to connect to and hack the computer — at least according to these organizations and businesses that are not yet ready to upgrade to newer hardware and software.

But Andrew Barrett, a security consultant with the IT infrastructure firm Coalfire Systems begs to differ. In a recent interview the expert claimed that a hacker can steal data from a vulnerable Windows XP system, even without Internet access.

It all comes down to a USB removable device:

“The ‘It doesn’t face the internet’ argument is a flawed one for businesses concerned about criminal activity. If there is a way out, there can be a way in.

Other types of attack are also attacking the OS; USB ATM attacks are now starting to be circulated as viable, Stuxnet was deployed via USB albeit with significant insider effort.”

Malicious programs, the expert explains, could copy and steal specific data from the target computers running Windows XP after the retirement date.

The costs associated with the transition to Windows 8.1 have often been cited as one of the main reasons why the Windows XP user base is still to upgrade to a newer version of Windows — hardware upgrades are pretty much mandatory in many such cases.

Then again, data security is perhaps the most important factor for these businesses, and not a factor that they can take lightly after Windows XP goes past its sell by date.

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