Cyber-hackers will be in a feeding frenzy once the April 8th date is reached. For that is the exact time when the security and protection of Windows XP goes out the window (pun intended). The fact that the Windows XP system is old and decrepit by now means that any two-bit hacker can create malware that will harm Windows XP systems once Microsoft’s aegis is removed.
While the system lasted more than a decade, now is the time to say goodbye to it. Nevertheless, the issue of the system continuing to control some 20% to 30% of the world’s PCs gives one the creeps. The fact that banks, businesses and restaurants still employ the same old software and will continue to employ it is a source of worry. The situation is indeed a precarious one.
"I am sure you have everything from police departments to banks to legal offices to restaurants," Trustwave director Christopher Pogue said while discussing the extent to which Windows XP is still used. "Think of a business and they probably run XP; I would say everyone is in equal danger."
Cyber-criminals have come to haunt the airwaves of the Internet. They lurk at every corner and are ready to pounce upon anyone with a naïve outlook.
"You are talking literally millions of computers systems that will cease to receive regular security updates," Pogue said. "That is obviously causing a panic because of new vulnerabilities that will be introduced."
But the attitude of Windows XP users who refuse to budge is not just naïve. It is virtually suicidal. Their PC software systems will be torn to shreds by the barracuda that haunt the shady edges of cyberspace. And Microsoft is sick and tired of giving any guarantees. It wants out.
The new chinks in the armor will surely be a source of danger. But what can be done when you have an unmoving mindset which some of the fans of the XP system possess in plenty. There’s no way out of such a system where belief is so strong that no argument will create change in viewpoint.
"In a lot of cases, it is that Windows XP is good enough and people didn't see the business value to spending money to upgrade," Silver said of businesses hanging on to XP as new versions of Windows came and went. "It is a risky attitude, given what issues they could have. These folks knew this was coming, too."
The whole XP shebang got going in 2001. But today it is 2014. That means it has been in existence for a long time indeed. And it would be best if we let go of the past.