Microsoft Worried About PCs Still Using Windows XP

Microsoft has a huge challenge on its hands over the next six months: to not only sell customers on the greatness that is Windows 8.1, but to convince them that Windows XP is too old and too unsafe to use. As we've seen since the launch of Windows 8 last year, Microsoft is pushing consumers and businesses alike to ditch the old but popular OS for something a bit more spit shined like Windows 7 and Windows 8. Unfortunately, upgrading doesn't appear to be happening fast enough.

According to Microsoft's own numbers, around 377,000 PCs in New Zealand alone that are running Windows XP will be made vulnerable after April 8, 2014. Even more, those individuals and businesses could affect others who have already upgraded. Personal information could be put at risk as well as business trade secrets, customer account data and more. As reported earlier this week, hackers could reverse engineer fixes made to the newer platforms and see if the exploits work on Windows XP.

The time to upgrade, if it hasn't taken place already, is now. "We're well and truly at the stage where businesses and personal computer users need to upgrade to Windows 7 or Windows 8 – both to protect against risk, and to get the benefits of running a modern operating system," says Dean Edwards, Windows Business Group Manager at Microsoft NZ.

"For businesses, upgrading an operating system takes time," Edwards adds. "Depending on complexity, small businesses could take three to six months to upgrade, and larger businesses can take six months or more. We are really worried that some New Zealand companies are cutting it too close to the end of support date."

Earlier this week, a spokesperson for Microsoft said that the company will not guarantee updates of its anti-malware signature and engine after the Windows XP end of support date of April 8, 2014. More specifically, the rep said that running antivirus software on out of support operating systems is not an adequate solution to help protect against threats. Instead, a well-protected solution starts with using modern software and hardware designed to help protect against today's threat landscape… modern software like Windows 7 and Windows 8.

"In addition, Microsoft recommends best practices to protect your PC such as: 1) running up to date antivirus, 2) regularly applying security updates for all software installed, and 3) using modern software that has advanced security technologies and is supported with regular security updates," the rep added.

So how disruptive will it be for businesses to upgrade to Windows 7 or Windows 8? "We had 1,100 computers running XP in all our offices and branches, and migrating them to Windows 8 caused little disruption to the business," said Dave Veronese, CIO of House of Travel. "It was something we delayed doing for so long, but we've already noticed the benefit of using more up to date software and would highly recommend upgrading for the advantages of the new operating system."

In a chart recently provided by Microsoft, the number of Common Vulnerabilities and Exposures (CVEs) mitigated by Windows XP's built-in DEP were surpassed by the CVEs that could bypass XP's baked-in protection in 2011. By 2012, that bypassing number of CVEs appears to have doubled. Now imagine that number after April 2014.

  • Jordan Nwokolo
    And People Also Worry,Because M$ offer them a Cripple tablet OS to their PC..Hell No Microsoft !!! People Already spend a hundreds or a thousand Dollars to Build or buy their PC, So they want a REAL desktop OS,Not a Cripple one :kaola:
  • Absentsa
    How difficult can it be for a company the size of MS to keep XP security up to date? If they were really 'worried' they would simply keep supporting it. This is bully tactics thinly veiled as consumer concern. I don't remember buying XP with an expiry date on the package. Should be a legal requirement if they do this consistently (Which they do). Load of bull if you ask me.
  • ohim
    @Absentsa First look at other companies how much support they give you for their older products, then complain about MS not supporting XP, which even if it had security up to date would still be an outdated OS.
  • demonhorde665
    of course MS says those pc's wil be at risk , but the real truth is that hackers will no longer bother with targeting win XP any more. now speaking of out dated OS'es I'd stil like to go build a win 98 "time machine" for nostalgia gaming, compatability programs only get you so far with some older games. wonder what MS thinks of that ?
  • ohim
    Yeah sure, because everybody will go build a time machine for old games, don`t generalize just because you want something old and running in particular.
  • ubercake
    This is a 12 year-old OS.

    Anyone who hasn't upgraded or doesn't have a plan has had plenty of time.

    While they're at it, they should upgrade their Windows for Workgroups 3.11 machines as well. It is also advisable they stop relying on MS-DOS on their other machines.
  • izmanq
    Yes, XP users, time to move to Linux :D
  • Avus
    If microsoft worry so much about the lacks of windows upgrade, where is the $40 Win8 upgrade deal for all WinXP, WinVista, Win7 user?? I personally bought 4 of those when MS offered that $15/$40 upgrade deal when Win8 was released...
  • Horhe
    @Absentsa They don't give you an expiry date for cars either, but this doesn't mean that cars made 50 years ago are as safe as cars made today. Sure, you can still drive them and there are big chances nothing wrong would happen to you, but newer cars are safer to driver, and safer during crashes.
  • troger5troger5
    hackers attack the majority. hackers attack what gets attention. our company of 15000 just went to 7. we are usually 3 to for years behind because all of our company apps have to be tested and working flawless or we could loose millions if they stop working at random.