From April 8, 2014, no more automatic fixes, updates or online technical assistance for Windows XP
Windows XP still makes up 20.39% of PCs in Malaysia, or the equivalent of over 3.6 million PCs
MICROSOFT Malaysia has reminded customers that it will officially retire service and support for its Windows XP operating system (OS) on April 8 next year.
With this deadline exactly one year away, SMBs (small and medium businesses) and consumers in Malaysia may want to migrate from the 11-year-old OS to avoid vulnerabilities and risks, the company said in a statement.
From April 8, 2014, Microsoft will no longer provide automatic fixes, updates, or online technical assistance for Windows XP. This also means that users will no longer receive security updates that help protect PCs from harmful viruses, spyware, and other malicious software that can steal personal information, the company said.
“While XP was one of the most popular operating systems in Microsoft’s history, it was not designed to handle the challenges of today, such as the increased exposure to cyber-attacks and demands for more data privacy, unlike our newer operating systems such as Windows 7 and 8,” said Microsoft Malaysia chief marketing and operations officer Danny Ong (pic).
“By far, the security risk is the most concerning for customers as there are more sophisticated forms of attack which can impact safety of personal information and the hidden costs associated with support and business continuity,” he added.
As of March 2013, according to StatCounter, Windows XP still makes up 20.39% of PCs in Malaysia with a steady rate of decline since Windows 7 was launched in October 2009.
That equates to over 3.6 million PCs. StatCounter data also shows that about 60% of PCs in Malaysia are already on Windows 7 and in the last two months, there’s been an uptake of Windows 8 as well, Microsoft Malaysia said.
“Whether you’re an SMB or consumer in Malaysia, the dangers of continued use of XP are real and the risks should not be under-estimated,” said Cybersecurity Malaysia chief executive officer Dr Amirudin Abdul Wahad (pic).
“Windows XP is three generations behind Microsoft’s most modern operating system, so continuing to use PCs with XP is similar to driving a car without a seat belt or a motorbike without a helmet.
“The risks are real and the only way to protect yourself and the organization is to upgrade,” he added.
According to the findings of Microsoft’s Security Intelligence Report, Volume 13, released in June 2012, Windows XP with SP3 is three times more vulnerable than Windows 7 SP1.
Over the last decade, security threats have escalated in a number of ways, Microsoft Malaysia said:
Malware: Increased from 1,000 in 1991 to millions in 2012 and has become an online crime story. Computer threats include viruses, worms, trojans, exploits, backdoors, password stealers, spyware, and other variations of potentially unwanted software.
Fake virus alerts: Rogue security software is the latest in major infections, where a virus will download itself on to a computer automatically and show up as a legitimate virus alert. It will then create pop-up windows on a user’s screen that show alerts that your system has been infected with the need to run a scan immediately. When the user clicks on the scan button, the virus will infect the rest of the computer. Rogue security software might also attempt to spoof the Microsoft security update process.
Hacktivism: According to IDC, denial of service (DoS) and distributed denial of service (DDoS) attacks are re-emerging as a threat to businesses and organizations of late. In 2012, there was a sharp increase in the frequency, bandwidth volume, and applications orientation of these attacks, and organizations were often caught unaware. Such attacks, loosely referred to as ‘hacktivism’, increased nearly 70% in the first six months of 2012 vs. the same period in 2011, according to statistics released by Prolexic, a Hollywood, Florida-based website defense firm.
In addition to the severe security issues, continued use of XP poses additional threats including compliance issues such as encryption, hashing and signing (click to download 1.72MB infographic).
Furthermore, more than 60% of independent software vendors and modern browsers no longer support XP, according to Gartner’s The Big Migration: Windows 7 and Office 2010 report.
To support SMBs in this effort, Microsoft has announced the Windows Upgrade Center website where they can get more information about this issue, and learn from analysts and other customers in the region.
Microsoft also advises SMB customers to look out for special offers from their resellers in the next few months.
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