Ready for the Windows XPocalypse? You have a Reprieve but Beware.

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ANP has been sharing with our clients and friends the need to migrate away from Windows XP. After all, Microsoft has been telling their customers that XP malware updates would stop on April 8th 2014.  Windows XP and Office 2003 are already End-of-life and End-of-support; unfortunately for Microsoft, it is estimated that 28% of PCs in use today are still using Windows XP! So millions of Microsoft customers were going to be without any security patches for their Operating System.

Microsoft has issued a reprieve to XP’s scheduled Death Sentence of April 8th 2014. Microsoft recently announced it would extend anti-virus definition updates for XP antivirus software until July 14th 2015.  On one hand I was surprised they made this announcement, but on the other hand, does Microsoft really want almost one-third of their customers using their operating system with no virus definition updates from the manufacturer?

If you are a corporate User of XP you will need to have System Center Endpoint Protection or Forefront Client security, or Forefront Endpoint protection and Windows Intune in order to deploy and install the virus definition updates.  If you are a consumer, you need to be running Microsoft Security Essentials.

There’s an issue regarding Security Essentials; while Microsoft is going to continue to provide updates for its Security Essentials for at least another year, XP users will not be able to download the software after April 8, 2014, because the applications will be going away and taken offline.  So if you want to get these malware updates, you better first download and install Security Essentials prior to the end date in April.

It is interesting to note that while Microsoft will provide virus definition updates until July 14, 2015, Microsoft’s TechNet blog warns that its research “shows that the effectiveness of antimalware solutions on out-of-support operating systems is limited.” Yikes! In other words, hurry up and complete your Windows 7 upgrades! Microsoft goes on to say, “running a well-protected solution starts with using modern software and hardware designed to help protect against today's threat landscape.”  Okay now they are screaming at us to upgrade to Windows 7!

Did you know that almost all standalone ATM’s are operating with Windows XP? Almost 95 percent of ATM’s (and there are 420,000 of them right here in theUSA) use Windows XP! One would hope that American financial institutions are treating the End-of-life and End-of-support as serious matters.  ANP has a large financial institution customer that is actively migrating 400 XP PCs into Window 7 machines; they do not see the reprieve as a reason to delay! ANP also supports a large car dealership with 75 old XP machines that are currently being migrated to Windows 7; not waiting either!

It would be easy to view this extension in malware support as a gift and delay upgrading XP.  But that would be a potentially costly mistake. The most prudent thing you can do with your Windows XP machines is to create a plan immediately and begin to migrate them to Window 7 PCs.



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