You’ve probably heard by now that Windows XP and Office 2003 will reach end-of-life next Tuesday, April 8, 2014. This retirement has been planned for a long time, and though it doesn’t mean that the computers you use to run your business are suddenly going to crash and die… it’s actually a little worse than that.
I am NOT trying to scare you
As an IT professional, I know about computers, and I know about business. As your trusted IT advisor, I really want to make sure that you understand the dangers your company may face if you choose not to upgrade your operating system and Microsoft Office edition before April 8—next Tuesday. If you haven’t upgraded, please contact me immediately so that we can get your business protected before next Tuesday.
Why would hackers care about an old system or program?
In the past, when hackers have found weaknesses in XP (and there have been a lot of weaknesses), the hackers have exploited those weaknesses, attacked companies, and received their pay (yes, this is how hackers earn a living). The security breaches that they identified and used were only available for a short time—basically until Microsoft applied a patch and the hackers’ backdoor into your system was cut off.
After April 8, Windows won’t be closing that backdoor to hackers anymore, so when hackers find a weakness next week they can use it over and over and over again to attack every company that is running XP and/or Office 2003.
That’s not even the bad news.
The actual bad news is that hackers have a strong financial motivation to find as many hacks as possible into XP and Office 2003—but they won’t sell those hacks until after April 8.
In the past, Microsoft would be guaranteed to patch the backdoor that hackers had found, but after Tuesday, Microsoft won’t help out your business anymore.
For hackers, this means more money: hacks and viruses that last forever are worth a lot more than hacks that will eventually be stopped.
“ ‘When someone discovers a very reliable, remotely executable XP vulnerability, and publishes it today, Microsoft will patch it in a few weeks,’ said Fossen [an expert on Microsoft security]. ‘But if they sit on a vulnerability, the price for it could very well double.’ “
Here’s how hacking affects your business
Although we keep hearing news about hackers who hit big corporations like Target and Neiman Marcus, hackers hit small businesses too. According to the National Cyber Security Alliance:
- Thirty-six percent of all cyber attacks are aimed at small businesses
- Sixty percent of small businesses will close within six months of a cyber attack
Stop a second. Read that over again.
“The experts say that your business has a more than one-in-three chance of being hacked, and if you are, your business will probably close down.”
Here are the facts about XP getting hacked
- XP has been hacked a lot in the past (which shows that there have been a lot of system weaknesses)
- Experts think that XP will be hacked a lot more in the future
Here are all the facts about Windows XP
- Tuesday, April 8, 2014 is the day that Windows XP is being retired
- “Retirement” or “End-of-Life” means that the system will no longer be protected from hackers
- Windows XP has been the most-hacked system that Microsoft ever released
- Your company is probably running Windows XP (Check your operating system here)
Here’s the good news
Your business will be just fine. Why? Because you know about the dangers that are coming up and you know who to call for help. This is why I’m making sure that you really understand what next Tuesday’s Windows XP and Office 2003 retirement means. As your trusted IT partner, I want you to make smart, informed decisions that ensure your ongoing business success. Contact me today so that we can work together to make sure your business stays protected.
Photo courtesy of Stuart Miles / FreeDigitalPhotos.net