What is it about Windows XP that has made getting rid of an obsolete operating system so difficult? On the face of it, it should be no contest; XP is inherently less secure than its successors, will no longer receive essential updates, cybercriminals target it more often, and it doesn’t even support the latest secure applications. These factors add up to higher support costs and risk.
The lead up to Windows XP's expiration is causing a frenzy among the many businesses that are still running on the retiring operating system.
After nearly 13 years, Tuesday 8 April is the day Windows XP reaches the end of the road as Microsoft pulls extended support. Anyone still running XP after that day will be on their own and left exposed to an inevitable wave of malware attacks lured by the pickings to be had from millions of PCs running an unpatched operating system.
Imagine an OS without security updates, hotfixes or support – being stuck in a world of perpetual zero days in what would effectively be open season for cybercriminals. Come April 8th 2014, this is exactly what many organizations will be facing as Microsoft withdraws it’s free support for the hugely popular Windows XP operating system.
Windows XP is deemed ‘good enough’ by many, but the fact is that it’s four to five times more vulnerable to malware infection than Windows 7. While this is mainly due to improved security defenses, including least privilege security implemented with the help of User Account Control (UAC), that’s not to say we should be complacent when using Windows 7.
As many organizations look to migrate to Windows 7, it is an opportune time to review user privileges. User Account Control (UAC) was introduced by Microsoft in Windows Vista, and it has remained much the same in Windows 7, albeit with a few minor tweaks to its default behavior. Although UAC is a welcome addition to Windows, it really doesn’t provide a corporate solution to least privilege.