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Update on Windows XP End-of-Support

On April 8, 2014, Microsoft Windows XP will no longer be a supported operating system. “Windows XP users will no longer receive new security updates, non-security hotfixes, free or paid assisted support options, or online technical content updatesaccording to Microsoft. There is a larger threat, however, that goes beyond the decisions any single user makes on whether to upgrade their operating system. That threat is malware.

Even though the end-of-support plans for Windows XP have been in place and well publicized for a long time, there is real concern over a large number of no-longer-supported but still running machines. These computers would present a prime target for the purveyors of malware. The potential for a viral passing of malware and possible damage goes beyond the concerns over any single user.

Microsoft recently announced they will “continue to provide updates to our antimalware signatures and engine for Windows XP” through July 14, 2015, ostensibly to support the migration plans of the XP user community. This is somewhat in line with support that Google and Mozilla are providing for their browsers that may still be running on Windows XP.

This announcement is not a reprieve for any XP users who would like to think they have a little more time to put off a decision. It is not a good practice to rely on XP after April 8th of this year. This announcement seems to acknowledge that in this interconnected world, one user’s reluctance to upgrade can carry consequences for others.

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