Every day hackers are trying to figure out new ways to break into Microsoft Windows and once they do find a weakness, they try and find a way to spread it. This could be through a malicious email attachment or even something that spreads without your involvement.
Whenever Microsoft discovers a potential flaw, they push out a small piece of software to all Windows computers running a supported version. If set correctly, your computer will check for any updates or patches and install them automatically. In new versions, this usually happens when you’re shutting down or starting up, and doesn’t impact your experience at all. Unfortunately, some users will manually disable or delay their updates, creating a risky situation.
The updates may include security patches, drivers or simple tweaks to address bugs or issues with Windows. Sometimes, they even include new features or applications to improve the stability of your operating system. They’re a good thing!
Not All Versions Get Updates
Some older operating systems are no longer supported, which means unless there are extenuating circumstances (such as the recent WannaCry outbreak), Microsoft won’t issue any new updates. Generally, if cyber criminals discover a flaw after support to the operating system ends, they’re free to exploit it. For example, Windows XP support ended in 2014, and Windows Vista just ended in April this year. The moment an operating system is retired it becomes a playground for cyber-criminals. This is because they know that many people will continue to run these outdated systems, giving cyber criminals easy prey.
It’s not just Microsoft walking away from these old versions either. Third party software like the Google Chrome browser will still work, but they’ve also stopped supporting old versions with crucial updates and patches. Although it might seem like everything is working fine because your anti-virus isn’t pinging in alarm, the reality is that you are piling risk atop risk. Speaking of anti-virus software, most of these products that are running on older versions of Windows are also either unsupported or given only definition updates. These editions leave your system even less protected due to their lack of advanced support and new features.
What to Do With Unsupported Systems
As much as you’re comfortable with your older version of Windows, each time you boot up you’re exposing your system, important files and entire network. It only takes one weak entry point in the chain to allow malware into all connected devices. That could mean your photo storage, media center or even smart appliances will be vulnerable. The risk posed by unsupported and unprotected systems is not worth risk. If you’re running Windows XP or Vista, you need to update to a more modern operating system ASAP. Give us a call to upgrade your computer, and get the protection you need!
We can also monitor your system remotely and apply your Windows updates with our Managed Services packages, ensuring you are always up to date and protected. Give us a call!