As of April 8 Microsoft will no longer support Windows XP. This means they will not provide security updates to patch security flaws, leaving your comput er more vulnerable to viruses and hackers.
More risk than ever before
Many security experts agree that hackers are holding onto known exploits in order to sell or release them after April 8. Since 30 percent of Internet-connected PCs are still running Windows XP, a security exploit can be extremely valuable on the black market. Currently, Microsoft patches most security flaws within 2 weeks. Once those holes are no longer plugged, the value will skyrocket.
What should you do?
To be blunt, you should stop using Windows XP right now. Not just because of the security risks, but because the newer versions of are faster, more stable and include new features that greatly enhance productivity. Using XP limits your options for connected devices. For example, new printers don’t provide drivers for XP. So you’re stuck with what you have, or you’ll need to purchase used hardware.
If, despite all of this, you still have to run XP, here are a few things you can do to minimize the risks:
- Stop using Internet Explorer. Switch to Google Chrome or Firefox to run a secure modern browser on Windows XP.
- Run a quality Anti-Virus program and keep it updated.
- Stop using Outlook Express, Office XP and Office 2003. These applications are no longer patched, leaving them full of security holes.
- Keep JAVA, Adobe Reader and Flash Player updated or better yet remove them altogether.
Windows XP was a fantastic operating system, arguably one of the best ever. But Windows 7 is worthy successor and Windows 8.1 is a great operating system despite the steep learning curve. By using XP, not only are you missing out on features and devices that could help you work more efficiently and simplify your life, you are leaving your computer at a significant risk for viruses and hackers to access your private information.