So here we are at the windows xp end of life. Microsoft has made a decision to end support for its 12-year-old OS Windows XP in April 2014 The fast looming deadline for Windows XP support will galvanise hackers, as they target hundreds of millions of users on unpatched systems. Microsoft has already granted the 12-year-old OS several stays of execution, but the company has said it will finally end extended support on 8 April 2014 – despite the fact that XP remains the second-most popular OS, with almost a 1/3 of all PCs running it. These hundreds of millions of desktops and laptops will be vulnerable to hackers once XP stops receiving security updates, with Microsoft warning earlier this year that hackers could use patches issued for Windows 7 or Windows 8 to scout for XP exploits. “The very first month that Microsoft releases security updates for supported versions of Windows, attackers will reverse-engineer those updates, find the vulnerabilities and test Windows XP to see if it shares [them],” wrote Tim Rains, the director of Microsoft’s Trustworthy Computing group. When hackers develop exploit code they will not have any security updates to overcome, meaning Windows XP will henceforth have a zero-day vulnerability. Microsoft noted that XP shared 30 security holes with Windows 7 and Windows 8 between July 2012 and July 2013, giving hackers ample opportunity to reverse-engineer vulnerabilities. Windows 7 will continue receiving patches but Microsoft will no longer issue safe underwritten patches. Failure to migrate could leave businesses open to infections, denial-of-service attacks and data theft, according to Camwood. Aside from the inconvenience and costs to...
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