Microsoft warns Windows XP users will be more vulnerable to viruses and malware after support ends tomorrow

Microsoft is warning small businesses still using Windows XP will be at increased risk of viruses and malware after the company stops providing security patches for the operating system tomorrow.

Windows product manager Emmanuel Silanesu told SmartCompany the end of support means users will no longer receive bug patches, security updates or technical updates for the software.

“End of support means there will be no more security updates, non-security hotfixes, free or paid assisted support options or online technical content updates from Microsoft. This is in-line with our existing Support Lifecycle policy that has been in place since 2002.

“After April 8, 2014, Windows XP users will no longer receive new security updates, non-security hotfixes, free or paid assisted support options, or online technical content updates from Microsoft.

“Third parties may provide ongoing support, but it’s important to recognize that support will not address fixes and security patches in the core Windows kernel. Support for Office 2003 will also end at this time.”

According to Silanesu, there are a number of risks for businesses that continue to use XP beyond the cut-off date.

“Technology has changed a lot over the past 12 years. Many newer apps won’t run on Windows XP, new hardware may not support Windows XP and without critical Windows XP security updates, PCs may become vulnerable to harmful viruses, spyware, and other malicious software which can steal or damage your personal information and business data. Anti-virus software will also not be able to fully protect you once Windows XP itself is unsupported.”

For his part, Silanesu recommends businesses look at upgrading to PCs and other devices running Windows 8.1, which is the most recent version of its operating system.

“Small businesses are the lifeblood of the Australian economy and having the ability to not just be connected, but also productive is a part of modern business.

“By moving to the latest desktop and mobile Windows OS, customers will experience a fully connected and seamless experience across all devices. It is also costly to remain on Windows XP devices.

“In fact, according to a commissioned study by IDC, companies that chooses to stay on Windows XP will have to incur three times more cost per user as compared to migrating to a newer OS.”

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