Microsoft announced today that the 11-year old operating system Windows XP will no longer receive security updates, non-security hotfixes, free or paid assisted support options, or online technical content updates from Microsoft after April 8, 2014. More than 3.6 million Filipino XP users need to upgrade as early as this year to avoid risks of destructive malware attacks.
The expiration of support for Windows XP is deemed necessary due to the dramatic evolution of technology. Business and personal technology has dramatically changed over the last decade. PC desktops are now commonly found side by side with laptops, and newer form factors like Ultrabooks, All in Ones, and tablets. Writeable CDs are today replaced by cloud-based storage solutions like SkyDrive. Connectivity and accessibility once limited to offices is now possible at home, in the car or even on a beach. The all new Windows 8 reflects this evolution while it delivers important technology requirements such as security.
Industry analysts are all in agreement that now is the time to upgrade from the decade old software:
IDC: “Windows XP has been a major platform that both consumers and business alike have depended on for many, many years now,” says Bryan Ma, Associate Vice President of Client Devices Research at IDC Asia/Pacific. “And yet with the termination of extended support for XP looming ahead, it is important that preparations be made to migrate to newer versions of the OS in order to make sure that users can continue to rely on their systems.”
Frost & Sullivan: Alan Tong, Director, Asia Pacific, Frost & Sullivan commented, “The increasing new technology in mobile computing and the sophistication of network security attacks will test the performance of XP when the support ceases. Enterprises need to consider the functional costs and the vulnerability of their PCs if they continue with the existing OS.”
PHCERT: Locally, the Philippine Computer Emergency Response Team (PHCERT) also have a statement. “Upgrading from Windows XP to Windows 8 is beneficial among users and organizations because the shift will entitle them to more frequent and more efficient security updates to protect their laptops and PCs from vulnerable attacks. As the security landscape evolved and new threats emerge, it is critical that businesses ensure they protect their data and IP against the latest threats with a modern Windows 8 OS, browser and hardware,” said Albert dela Cruz, Director of PHCERT and CIO of Philweb.
Microsoft ensures that the upgrade will be convenient for consumers and businesses. The company made an early announcement to help customers and partners manage their support requirements.
Mae Rivera-Moreno, Windows Client Business Lead of Microsoft Philippines 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. 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. An 11-year-old operating system can no longer address today’s business and technology needs nor security threats.”
Apart from security, Windows 8 delivers tangible benefits for businesses’ IT investments.
“Our company has begun to upgrade to the new Windows 8. Upgrading to a modern Windows platform will prepare our IT infrastructure to support future technology solutions and growth of our business,” said Kelsey Hartigan-Go, CIO of SM Prime Holdings.
Companies such as BT PLC, Emirates Airlines, Seton Hall University and Toyota Racing Development moved from XP to Windows 7 and are now deploying Windows 8 because of how it reflects their needs today. Not sure what’s the right solution for you? Microsoft is offering a variety of resources to help businesses, including deals through sites like http://www.Get2Modern.com.
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:
• MALWARE: Increased from 1000 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 organisations of late. In 2012, there was a sharp increase in the frequency, bandwidth volume, and applications orientation of these attacks, and organisations 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, Fla.-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, while more than 60% of independent software vendors and modern browsers no longer support XP.
To support SMBs in this effort, Microsoft today announced the Windows Upgrade Centre website at http://www.microsoft.com.ph/xp-eos , where SMBs can get more information about this issue, 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.