With official support for Windows XP set to end on April 8th, what are the biggest security fears and what should users do about it?
Microsoft announced that official support for Windows XP will end on April 8, so get ready. As vulnerabilities arise, there will be no patch updates once official support ends. This means that, without patches, there will be an increase in attack vectors used by hackers. Once hackers have control, everything from creating zombies for DDoS attacks to man-in-the middle attacks will be possible. Also, unpatched XP machines can also become jumping off points for infecting other XP machines through email, the most-used attack vector. According to a 2013 study by Verizon, 95% of all attacks begin with email. This will become especially true for unpatched XP computers.
To mitigate security issues, upgrade operating system to Windows 7 if possible. If not possible, buy a new computer. If that’s not possible, make sure virus/malware scanners are ALWAYS up-to-date. Never use a free virus scanner because it will not include a malware scanner or a software firewall. But if you must use a free virus scanner, use a malware scanner (for example, Malwarebytes) in tandem with the virus scanner.
Finally, sandbox your browser. Programs (for example, Sandboxie) will keep you safe as you surf the web because any virus or malware that enters your browser will be deleted when you close your browser.
Allan Pratt, InfoSecurity & CyberSecurity Strategist, @Tips4Tech
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