The technology world is gearing up to say goodbye to a trusty old operating system. Microsoft will stop supporting Windows XP after April 8, 2014, and news about the ancient OS continues to surface as we head into the final few months.
Scary news, mind you — Windows XP is inherently not as secure a platform as Windows 7 or Windows 8, after all, and the situation could soon worsen for users and businesses that stay on it after retirement.
And when Microsoft stops providing updates and security patches for the operating system (that is still very popular), it is sure to bring it smack in the spotlight for hackers and cybercriminals. And this is exactly what the software giant keeps remaining the Windows XP user base.
According to this report, Microsoft recently sent a document to a number of Irish business customers, emphasizing the security risks of keeping Windows XP running beyond the retirement date.
“Windows XP is no longer enough to defend against the onslaught of modern threats that organisations face on a daily basis. Businesses that still run Windows XP will become even more vulnerable to malware and attacks after April 2014.
The most significant risk is that PCs, and the data they contain, could be hacked and compromised. Today, Windows XP is 21 times more likely to be infected by malware than Windows 8.”
No denying that the old OS will soon become a very easy to hack software. An unpatched exploit could not only leave users and data vulnerable, but could open up backdoors to even more flaws.
For comparison, Windows 98 is even more exploitable, but there is a reason no one focuses on it — the decade-and-a-half old operating system has almost a negligible user base. Windows XP, on the other hand, still has an install base numbering in the hundreds of millions.
It is estimated that Windows XP powers from 20 to 30 percent of the connected PCs worldwide.