The End of XP

XP breakThe news of Windows XP’s closure has been making the rounds of the internet for some time now and finally, it reached the end of its life on April 8, 2014, along with Office 2003 and Exchange 2003. If you’re still using XP , your company’s security has taken a hit. There’s no question about it, you need to upgrade to a newer operating system.

You know all those security updates that your computer keeps pestering you about? Yes, it turns out those are actually pretty important. Those updates bolster your system against the newest security threats, keeping your business alive so you can keep churning out those numbers.

Microsoft stopped both support and updates for Windows XP on Tuesday April 8th. People were quite nervous that this was a hard deadline, as though when the clock struck midnight their computers would simultaneously crash in classic Y2k/Skynet fasion; or magically revert back to a pumpkin (if this did happen, you should definitely contact us because we would be very interested).

What it does mean, however, is that any sort of intelligent threat to your computer (read: hackers), waited for that date to arrive in order to take advantage of anyone who was procrastinating their OS upgrade.

 

HAcker

Be especially suspicious of people wearing ski-masks.

We’re an IT outsourcing company, and we did our best to push our clients to upgrade, as it means fewer headaches for them…and for us. So do us a favor; in fact, do every IT company and IT department a favor, and if you haven’t yet, please upgrade to a newer edition of Windows.

Please. We’re asking nicely.

I asked Drew, our CTO, and if you still find yourself with workstations that are running XP, then there are a few measures you can take:

  1. Starting with the most extreme; if you don’t need your computer on the internet, then disconnect it from the internet!
  2. If that’s not feasible then uninstall any software that you do not need (java, flash, adobe reader and Symantec products are all particularly buggy).
  3. Ensure that you have an active non-Windows firewall running and make sure that your user account is a limited account, not an administrator account.
  4. Finally, move away from Internet Explorer and use Google Chrome or Mozilla Firefox; both of these are far less susceptible to exploits than older Internet Explorer versions.