From next Tuesday, the 13-year-old Windows XP platform will no longer be supported by Microsoft, leaving any user still using the software vulnerable to hackers. While it is true that users won’t immediately be at risk from hackers, they always seem to find a flaw in the system and it’s only a matter of time before such a flaw is utilised to gain control of Windows XP users’ computers.
According to NetMarketshare statistics, close to 30 per cent of Australian computers still run Windows XP. More troublingly, 95 per cent of the world’s ATMs, including a large majority in Australia, also run off the Windows XP software, with only a third of these likely to be upgraded to a newer platform before the deadline. A Microsoft spokesman did confirm that a number of large enterprise customers in Australia had contacted Microsoft and purchased customer support while they upgrade their systems.
Pop-up reminders began appearing on the computers of Windows XP users earlier this month with a suggestion that they upgrade to the latest version of Windows at a cost. It is important to check before upgrading your computer that it meets the minimum requirements to run the more recent software. Microsoft has confirmed that their free anti-malware program, Microsoft Security Essentials, will continue to be updated until July 2015.
So, is it safe to continue using Windows XP? The simple answer is no. The more complicated answer would be – if you buy items online using a credit card, perform internet banking or post sensitive data online, you must upgrade to continue safely performing these tasks. If you use the internet for sending emails and consuming news, and wouldn’t be upset if your email account was compromised, then you may be able to get away with continuing to use Windows XP until Windows stops supporting Microsoft Security Essentials in July 2015.
What are your options?
Your options are very limited. The three choices are:
- Continue using Windows XP at your own risk
- Purchase a new version of Windows and update your computer
- Purchase a new computer
Find out more about your options from www.microsoft.com.