Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Goodbye Windows XP, hello cyber threats?



Feb 18, 2014, 5:41pm CST

Goodbye Windows XP, hello cyber threats?



Kelvin Ma

Microsoft will stop supporting its Windows XP system in April.

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Molly Ryan

Reporter- Houston Business Journal

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In just a few weeks, Microsoft Corp. (Nasadq: MSFT) will discontinue support for its Windows XP operating system, which means a great deal of small businesses still using the 13-year-old system will become increasingly susceptible to cyber attacks.

According to Redmond, Wash.-based Microsoft’s research, about 29 percent of small businesses in the U.S. still use the outdated system. And since Houston was a top market surveyed for the study, this statistic could very well represent the portion of local small businesses that could be negatively affected by Microsoft’s decision to discontinue supporting Windows XP.

“The bottom line is we released Windows XP during a time when the world was different,” said Lane Sorgen, general manager for Microsoft’s south central district, which includes all of Texas. “There is a lot more value built into new hardware now. And when you think about it from a customer’s point of view, the cost of a cyber threat is way more expensive than the cost of moving to a new device or operating system.”

The Windows XP operating system was not built for today's higher Internet bandwidths, more complex computers and more calculated cyber attacks, Sorgen explained.

Although Microsoft announced in 2007 that it would stop supporting Windows XP, many customers, especially smaller businesses, haven’t yet switched over to newer computing hardware that can support safer operating systems such as Window 7 or 8.

On April 8, Microsoft will stop supporting Windows XP and supplying “patches,” or updates to security issues, to the XP operating system. And, already, Microsoft found that Windows XP is five times more susceptible to viruses than its Windows 8.1 operating system.

Since Houston companies are already a prime target for cyber threats because of their close connections to the energy industry and critical infrastructure, many local technology providers have expounded on the virtues of companies both large and small implementing stronger cybersecurity measures. Sorgen added that security is an incredibly high priority for Microsoft’s customers, and by continuing to use Windows XP, the lack of security could be detrimental.


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