SAN FRANCISCO: People clinging to Microsoft’s aging Windows XP operating system will be left to fend off cyber criminals by themselves come Tuesday.
On April 8, Microsoft will stop patching newly found security holes in Windows XP code that hackers could exploit to slip into computers.
Despite Microsoft’s long-heralded plan to stop “supporting” the nearly 13-year-old operating system, it still powers from 20 to 30 percent of Windows machines around the world, according to industry estimates
Microsoft support entails regular security updates, but when it stops issuing patches to defend against freshly revealed hacker tactics aimed at XP, those using the operating system will need to enlist their own software wizards or live with mounting threats.
WHO WILL BE AFFECTED
Particular worry is being expressed for automated teller machines, many of which are reported to rely on Windows XP.
The global estimate of the number of XP-powered computers may likely be skewed by the China market, where there is widespread use of pirated versions of the Microsoft software, according to a post by computer protection analyst Graham Cluley at WeLiveSecurity.com.
Given that Windows software powers more than 90 percent of the world’s computers, even a small percentage of machines running XP in any country could translate to high numbers.
Computers running XP will make the Internet a more dangerous place for everyone since hackers can launch cyber attacks from infected machines or valuable information about customers from businesses, Cluley argued.
The good news, according to analysts, is that the latest version of Windows is far more capable and secure.