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XPocalypse now: XP stragglers are now wide open to hackers

Discussion in 'Off-Topic Discussion' started by sparkyscott21, Apr 8, 2014.

  1. sparkyscott21

    sparkyscott21 Moderator Staff Member

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    If you’re still using Windows XP and you’re not doling out extra cash to Microsoft to maintain support, then congratulations: You’re now vulnerable to all kinds of fun malware that hackers have been saving up for just this occasion. It’s April 8th, which means that it’s also the last day that Microsoft will give technical support for Windows XP.

    This means your XP machine won’t get anymore automatic updates you won’t be able to download Microsoft Security Essentials for your PC anymore. Microsoft does say that it will provide Security Essentials updates for XP users who already have the software downloaded onto their machines for a limited time but the company cautions that “this does not mean that your PC will be secure because Microsoft will no longer be providing security updates to help protect your PC.”

    Microsoft has been warning users about XP’s impending demise for years now but NetMarketShare estimates that just under 28% of PCs being used today still run the antiquated operating system. Microsoft has been making a big push to get XP users to get new PCs that run on Windows 8.1 but that’s proven to be a tough sell and NetMarketShare’s most recent numbers show that Windows 7 is growing at a significantly faster pace than assorted versions of Windows 8. What’s more, the vast majority of ATMs around the world still run on Windows XP, although that’s not as scary as it sounds since most banks are paying Microsoft for extended support.


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  2. sparkyscott21

    sparkyscott21 Moderator Staff Member

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    A lot of people are having trouble saying goodbye to Windows XP even after Microsoft has cut off support for the ancient operating system. Earlier this week we gave XP fans some tips for how to keep Windows XP around even if they upgrade to Windows 8, but what about those XP diehards who just flat-out refuse to upgrade to a new OS? For those hardy souls, The Guardian has put together a handy guide for XP stragglers who still can’t let go but who also don’t want to be open to the barrage of malware that will now run completely rampant on their machines without Microsoft’s support.

    The most obvious way to keep your XP computer safe from malware is, of course, to disconnect it completely from the Internet. But in all likelihood you’re probably the sort of person who wants to go online at least some of the time, so let’s cross that strategy off our list right from the start.

    The Guardian’s suggestion for people who do use their XP machines online is to not use them with your administrator account but to instead use them through more limited accounts. This means that you won’t be able to do everything that you typically could while being logged in as an administrator but it will also limit the damage that hackers can potentially do to your machine as well because it means that no new software can be installed onto your machine.

    The Guardian also recommends doing your browsing with Firefox or Chrome instead of the unsecured older Internet Explorer editions that are compatible with XP. You’ll also want to make sure you add the HTTPS Everywhere browser extension to whatever browser you choose to make sure any information you send over any webpage is encrypted.

    And finally, The Guardian recommends staying away from all shady websites, particularly sites that offer pirated music and videos.

    While it’s certainly possible to keep using XP even after support has ended, however, we have to wonder if it’s really worth jumping through all of these hoops instead of simply upgrading to Windows 7 or Windows 8.1. Change can be scary but it can’t be nearly as annoying as all of the security precautions you’ll have to take just to keep using Windows XP.


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  3. retroben

    retroben Active Member

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    The growth of Windows 7 is because the Windows 8 series sucks from all of its problems.
    Broken input timing for playing games,the bull**** mobile style interface,and most importantly,the Start Menu got ruined.
    What's the sense of having a computer if its just going to be forced to look like a mobile device?!
    That's the one thing people enjoy getting away from when using a desktop or laptop computer.

    Windows 7 is top notch because of all the updates that have happened for improving everything.

    I loved having Windows XP because it was fully compatible with a lot of older stuff like Sonic R.
     
  4. jonw747

    jonw747 Well-Known Member

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    The primary hole these days for any PC that's behind a firewall are bugs in web browsers, so the advice to stick with a supported web browser makes a lot of sense. Other than that, don't run programs from untrusted sources. Don't open email messages from unknown sources. Use addons to your browser that blocks scripts from running until you give an ok.

    But hey, for anyone who's constantly getting alerts from their virus checker ... go upgrade.
     
  5. sparkyscott21

    sparkyscott21 Moderator Staff Member

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    Breaking up with dead operating systems is harder to do than Microsoft thought it would be. Microsoft announced on Thursday that it was issuing a critical patch for Internet Explorer that would be compatible with Windows XP versions of the Internet browser. The new patch for XP users comes even though Microsoft swore last month that it would stop issuing patches for any XP software unless users paid the company additional money to help keep support up.

    As for the patch itself, it fixes a key vulnerability in Internet Explorer that’s been found to affect IE versions 6 through 11. Microsoft says that the vulnerability “may corrupt memory in a way that could allow an attacker to execute arbitrary code in the context of the current user within Internet Explorer” so that “an attacker could host a specially crafted website that is designed to exploit this vulnerability through Internet Explorer and then convince a user to view the website.”

    Even though Microsoft has decided to patch this vulnerability for Windows XP users, the company still insists that no further support for the platform will be forthcoming and is encouraging users to upgrade to Windows 7 or Windows 8.1. Microsoft will host a webcast giving more details about the vulnerability on Friday at 2 p.m. ET.







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  6. sparkyscott21

    sparkyscott21 Moderator Staff Member

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    Like it or not, Windows XP is no longer a smart option for personal computing. Microsoft went against its word and issued one last security update for the aging platform on Thursday, but new security holes that pop up will go unfixed and your personal data is at risk as a result. It’s time to move on.

    According to Net Applications, which measures market share by monitoring traffic across its networks, Windows XP’s global market share dropped by more than a point to 26.29% in April as users continued to begrudgingly migrate off of the 12-year-old desktop operating system.

    Some of those users apparently moved to another old OS, Windows 7, which saw its market share inch to 49.27% in April from 48.77% in March. The biggest gains were seen by Windows 8.1, however, which saw it’s share hop to 5.88% from 4.89% in the prior month.

    A certain amount of those gains undoubtedly came from people upgrading newer machines from Windows 8 to Windows 8.1. Windows 8's global share dipped slightly from 6.41% in March to 6.36% last month. Of course, that certainly wouldn’t account for all of Windows 8.1's market share gains.

    In the end, it looks like Microsoft is finally getting what it wants — and needs — as people migrate away from XP and onto its newest desktop operating system.




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  7. jonw747

    jonw747 Well-Known Member

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    So... did the end of the world arrive when XP support stopped?

    The only problem I've had so far was one caused by Microsoft due to a bug in one of their updates. I wish they'd hurry up and stop releasing them and stop breaking my computers.

    I got a good chuckle out of the article that recommended upgrading to Win7 and running XP apps in XP mode because a) Microsoft doesn't feel it's safe to be running XP mode anymore either, and b) there is no upgrade path from XP to Win7.
     

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