On April 8, 2014, Microsoft will discontinue its support of the Windows XP operating system, which means that security updates for this operating system will end on this day and millions of computers will be at risk.
Following Microsoft's end of support for Windows XP, systems still running XP can be infected by malware and viruses from the internet, or attached devices like USB thumb-drives. Hackers are targeting unprotected computers and companies since they will be easy targets after support updates end.
This not only affects your computer at home or work, but you might be surprised to learn that there are over 420,000 ATM’s in the United States running XP. Banks are rushing to upgrade and modify these ATMS but it begs the question of if major financial institutions are not prepared, what other weak points might other companies who you work with have? Once support ends from Microsoft, any businesses still using XP, and the majority of ATMs still running it, will face potentially catastrophic security and compliance risks.
Businesses have had time to prepare but many not have done the required planning, and budgeting for hardware upgrades. Many applications written for an old, unsupported operating system will fail to work properly in a new environment like Windows 7 or be open to exploitation by malicious users.
How to Protect Yourself and Your Company:
- Upgrade by April 8, 2014 to an operating system newer than Windows XP, such as Windows 7.
- Make any necessary hardware upgrades to accommodate a new operating system like Windows 7.
- Make sure you upgrade both personal and business computers.
- Ensure your business applications are able to run safely and securely on your new operating system.
- Check with your banking institution to see if their ATM software is up to date before using it.