Tuesday 8th April 2014 marked the end of life for Windows XP. The archaic OS, which has been one of the most popular of the Windows operating systems released in the last 13 years, finally reached EOL (end of life) yesterday and was put to eternal rest. The software giant will still release “virus warnings” related to the OS, however no fixes will be offered as part of update packages.
Microsoft will no longer be releasing any Operating System updates after the last batch were rolled out yesterday. Therefore, the highly popular OS will no longer be supported.
Many readers will be thinking, “this makes no difference to me, I upgraded to a newer Windows OS many moons ago”, well hold on there sister, because you may well find yourself caught short by this momentous clocking off of one of the world’s biggest support teams.
Millions of devices still use Windows XP, it’s thought that roughly 25% of all desktops are still running on it. Some of these devices are the backend to important services we use everyday, such as ATMs.
The cessation of further security updates leaves these devices open to security vulnerabilities as hackers develop ways to bypass any remaining security flaws in the OS itself. If such a vulnerability were targeted towards an everyday service like ATMs, the knock on effects would be huge, affecting millions of people across the globe.
ATM machines are just one example, but if something so common as this can be affected it is reasonable to assume that other everyday services will be affected.
XP itself was released in 2001 originally with a 10-year support life. However, after realizing its popularity in 2007 Microsoft decided to extend this support life to accommodate the many users. But, all good things must come to an end, and Windows XP is no different. The extent of its expiry as yet remains to be seen, but it seems only a matter of time before we read the latest story about exploitation of a security flaw.