On April 8 2014, the decade long support from Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ:MSFT) for Windows XP will be terminated. This means no more security updates, patches, or technical support for the popular OS, which is still running on 30% of all computers! Windows XP has had the longest shelf life among all the operating systems thanks to its vast user base. The shutdown had been scheduled for April 2009, but was delayed because of its large user base among home and enterprise users. Desperate pleas to shift to newer operating systems have apparently fallen on deaf ears. This also means the unleashing of spyware, viruses and other malware, for which anti-virus software will not be able to offer complete protection. Many users and businesses have not taken the plunge, due to high dependency on Windows XP and by citing the high cost of purchasing new hardware. For those unable to shift their critical environments from XP to any other version, Microsoft would still offer some support at a premium cost. If you are aware of anyone who still needs to update their OS, please share this information with them.

This frightening infographic shows how negligent industries have been in upgrading from XP, and the security implications they are likely to face:

  • 95% of bank ATMs will be exposed to new kind of cyber attacks, when Microsoft stops support for XP.
  • Experts say it would cost an estimated US$200 Billion to US$700 Billion  to update the ATMs.
  • Windows XP is incorporated so deeply in utility management systems, that it would cost an estimated US$100 million and several years of work to upgrade the outdated system.
  • Research by EHI intelligence revels that 85% of England’s healthcare system IT systems were still using Windows XP.
  • A former computer specialist and network engineer has indicated that hackers would pounce on Windows XP just ten minutes after Microsoft terminates support!
  • Another starling find is the market share of XP, which is still 29.23% as of February 2014. Interestingly, users char towards XP is bowing no sign to fade out as market share of XP increased by 0.55% in 2014!

Switching to Windows 8.1 on PC is an expensive option for the 1.63 billion PCs around the world, running on XP. An alternative is to use Windows 7, which is the most popular OS in desktop systems currently, though the switch to Windows 8 is likely sooner or later. A version of Linux named Xubuntu, resembling Windows XP is another attractive option, and is free of cost.  Unless theses steps are taken urgently, several businesses and banks around the world are likely to face a relentless wave of cyber attacks.



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