I know that most of my readers are on at least Windows 7, with most of you on Windows 10. So you may be wondering, why on Earth am I writing about Windows XP security patches? The answer is very simple.
First, Microsoft no longer supports Windows XP, unless you are a government agency still using the OS. However, last month’s #WannaCry ransomware infection that hit the world wide web like a ton of bricks, prompted Microsoft to make the unprecedented decision to manufacture and release security patches to an OS it no longer supports. That is how bad the WannaCry event was.
Second, security experts at Microsoft are saying that there is the potential for something worse than WannaCry coming down the pike. They do not go into great detail, but suffice to say, they make the claim that nation-states could potentially be involved. That means, foreign governments could be involved with the next cyber-attack. Incidentally, this is not the first time that would happen.
How To Patch Your XP Machine
While Microsoft made the incredible decision to release patches for XP, they did not make them available through Windows Update. You will have to download them manually. Please visit the following link and then sort by “last updated”. I would start on page two, and beginning in May 2017 I would download all patches through 06/12/2017 and install them. The main reason why people got hit with WannaCry was due to unpatched systems, so if you do this, you should be good to go.
Time To Upgrade
If you are reading this far, you are probably one of those XP holdouts for a variety of reasons. Most people just simply have an inherent dislike for change, and XP was a great operating system. However, to be perfectly frank, it is time to stop being a holdout. Continuing to use outdated operating systems is asking for trouble. Remember, attackers know that XP has not been patched since 2014, and thus, are going to write viruses to attack that very operating system. The likelihood that Microsoft will release another patch for XP is extremely remote.
You need to consider upgrading to a Windows 10 machine today. No, it is not going to look exactly like your XP machine, but you will get over it. However, the trade-off is that you will have a system that gets regular security updates, unlike what you have now. Make no mistake, Microsoft had no obligation to patch XP after support ended, and to be honest, people are lucky this is even happening. Start shopping around, or better yet, follow this blog by subscribing, to get all the latest updates on tech for some ideas.