Microsoft: Upgrade from Windows XP or risk infinite “zero-days”

August 19, 2013 – 5:30 PM

Microsoft is intensifying its efforts asking users to scrap Windows XP, the 12-year-old operating system for which the software giant is ending support next April.

Tim Rains, director of Microsoft Trustworthy Computing, authored a blog post last week reminding customers of the perils that could await them should they continue running XP, which debuted in 2001, once Redmond stops patching the platform. Users should upgrade to Windows 7 or 8.

“There is a sense of urgency because after April 8[, 2014], Windows XP Service Pack 3 (SP3) customers will no longer receive new security updates, non-security hotfixes, free or paid assisted support options or online technical content updates,” Rains wrote. “This means that any new vulnerabilities discovered in Windows XP after its ‘end of life’ will not be addressed by new security updates from Microsoft.”

Rains said that when a vulnerability is patched in one of Microsoft’s supported operating system versions, attackers typically reverse engineer the fix in hopes of creating an exploit that could target users who failed to apply the update.

When Microsoft ends support for XP, it will be likely that such as vulnerability would affect even outdated Windows versions. And without any possibility for a patch, attackers will essentially have free reign on XP endpoints.


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