Windows XP support nears its end, puts entire internet community at risk

Avatar By Aaron Sims | 7 years ago

Is the end of Windows XP imminent? After nearly 12 years of service, as well as months of discussion circulating around Microsoft’s decision to end support for the operating system, Windows XP will grind to a halt on April 8 when its parent company stops issuing patches to keep the software up to date.

That hardly means that computers running Windows XP will simply go dark on Tuesday; on the contrary, users of the durable operating system will be able to do whatever they wish when it comes to updating their computer software or hardware. However, the end of Microsoft support means that Windows XP will now be open to a slew of new viruses, spyware, and other types of malicious code that hackers could devise as a means of exploiting XP computers. In other words, users can continue to work with Windows XP machines, but it will no longer be safe or secure for them to use those machines to access the internet.

Microsoft announced the end of XP support several months ago, and has since made strides to encourage users to update their machines with newer, more secure operating systems. The company has even offered promotions to push the purchase of newer Windows-based computers. Despite this effort, though, an article published by Phys.org claims that between 20 and 30 percent of the world’s computers are still running on Windows XP. Many of those computers are used in key operations or businesses, “from police offices to banks to legal offices to restaurants.”

By neglecting to update their operating systems or computer machines, XP users have unwittingly brought not only themselves, but also the entire internet community into dangerous territory. With Microsoft support no longer in place to stop internet threats, hackers will easily invade and take control of XP machines.  From there, they will be able to either take advantage of information stored on the vulnerable computers (bad news for police departments, banks, or businesses with sensitive customer information on file) or launch malicious software attacks against other users through spam email and other nasty tactics.

The lesson? With two days left, XP users need to figure out a plan for ditching the operating system and updating, for the good of everyone.