XP What Does “End of the Line” Mean for You? Alert: If you’re a Windows XP user, attention! On April 8, XP, the popular Windows operating system will have reached the “end of the line”. Microsoft has announced support for Windows XP is finished. Here are some questions and answers to help understand this event. Q – “If I’m still using XP, what bearing does this have on me?” A – There won’t be further security updates. Your computer’s already significant vulnerability will skyrocket. Since it’s introduction, in 2001, XP’s been very popular and not coincidentally, one of the most popular targets as well. Users lax about updating to the most current security patches, and even those who weren’t, have been deluged with the entire gamut of viruses, malware, adware, etc. Anti-virus software has, for the most part, been ineffective in protecting users from serious exploitation. An astounding ninety percent of computers we’ve cleansed of malware, had current, updated anti-virus software running. In some cases, people had two of them running simultaneously (Bad move! It can create major interference with the other antivirus App and the Operating System). New exploits, and there will be many, engineered just for XP diehards, will take you down. Antivirus software, which relies on OS cooperation, will be unable to provide protection. From April 8th on, using Windows XP will be at your own significant risk. In order to be secure you’ll need to change operating systems, updating either to more current Windows operating systems, such as 7 or 8, Linux or Mac OS. Q – “Why can’t my anti-virus software keep my computer safe?” A – Because XP will be vulnerable to cracks developing and widening, without patching by Microsoft. Even if viruses are detected and eliminated, other types of attacks will remain undetected. In addition, once XP is “unsupported”, the developers of Apps, extensions, plug-ins, etc. will no longer update their XP versions of software. A major case in point, Adobe Flashplayer, required to play YouTube and other videos within your browser, and AcrobatReader will no longer be updated. Since exploits can been delivered through Flashplayer, Adobe has been updating it almost weekly. This will end and the bad guys will be free to deliver their payloads through Flash and other XP Apps, including Adobe Acrobat and PDFs. Q – “If I never connect my XP PC to the Internet again, won’t that keep it safe?” A – Sorry, even sacrificing Internet use won’t be sufficient. Since there are exploits that attach themselves to the boot level of any attachable media, you’d have to add never connecting your computer to anything other than a printer, to transfer data in or out. No more network, external drive, CD/DVD or memory cards! If you have any questions regarding the topic of this article, please call TECHSPA at 450-227-4118 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.