180 Million Windows XP Users Exposed to Threats as Microsoft Stops All Security Updates

Microsoft has announced that, as of July 15, all security solutions for XP users will stop receiving updates, leaving users exposed to threats.

Windows XP will no longer provide the Malicious Software Removal Tool or updates to Microsoft Security Essentials.

“Since real-time protection products have limited effectiveness on PCs that do not have the latest security updates, your PC will still be at risk of infection,” the company says. “We strongly recommend that you complete your migration to a supported operating system as soon as possible so that you can receive regular security updates to help protect your computer from malicious attacks.”

This spring, Microsoft ended all support for Windows XP. Since April 8, Microsoft no longer updates Windows XP to help protect PCs against malware. At that time, Microsoft also stopped providing Microsoft Security Essentials for download on Windows XP, letting users receive updates for a limited time until they switch to a fully supported operating system.

“One risk is that attackers will have the advantage over defenders who choose to run Windows XP because attackers will likely have more information about vulnerabilities in Windows XP than defenders”, according to Tim Rains, Chief Security Advisor, Microsoft Worldwide Cybersecurity & Data Protection, blogpost. “Criminals will attempt to develop code that will allow them to exploit it on systems that do not have the security update installed on them. Organizations that continue to run Windows XP won’t have this advantage over attackers any longer.”

Using Malicious Software Removal Tool and Microsoft Security Essentials without updates will affect mostly users who have no other security solution pre-installed. Anti-virus software can still block attacks and clean up infections if they occur until security producers provide updates for the XP version of Windows.

Microsoft will release Windows 10 at the end of July, offering a free upgrade to all computers that run a genuine copy of Windows 7, 8 or 8.1 and meet the hardware requirements. You can read on HOTforSecurity what has changed in Windows 10 security-wise.

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