The end of Windows XP on April 8th 2014, what will it mean?

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  • “Windows XP is currently found on 38.7% of PCs, according to NetMarketShare. April 2013.”
  • “Research commissioned by Camwood has revealed that while 82% of UK companies using XP are aware of the deadline, only around 60% have started migrating off the XP OS.”
  • And 10% have done nothing at all.

Why move at all?
Since there will be no scheduled security patches from next April, companies continuing to run Windows XP face the risk of targeted hacking attacks.

Zero Days forever
Traditionally, antivirus software relies upon signatures to identify malware. This can be very effective, but cannot defend against malware unless samples have already been obtained, signatures generated and updates distributed to users. Because of this, signature-based approaches are not effective against zero-day viruses.

“When Microsoft releases a security update, security researchers and criminals will often times reverse engineer the security update in short order in an effort to identify the specific section of code that contains the vulnerability addressed by the update. Once they identify this vulnerability, they attempt to develop code that will allow them to exploit it on systems that do not have the security update installed on them.” – Tim Rains Microsoft

“Turning on the Windows Firewall in Windows XP Service Pack 2 and later operating systems forced attackers to evolve their attacks. Rather than actively targeting remote services, attackers now primarily focus on exploiting vulnerabilities in client applications such as web browsers and document readers. In addition, attackers have refined their tools and techniques over the past decade to make them more effective at exploiting vulnerabilities. As a result, the security features that are built into Windows XP are no longer sufficient to defend against modern threats.” – Tim Rains Microsoft

The Internet Explorer v6

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web browser is only used in certain government departments and strange contracted out agencies. Large corporations have similar problems but there a more agile to work around the problem this is causing.

So the principle reasons are upgrading from XP are:

  1. Anti-virus protection
  2. A need for a web browser for banking and online shopping

Those still using Windows XP are probably using FireFox or Chrome if they have enough memory, but for 99% of users downloading a web browser is probably not something they would know how to do.

(What are computer viruses?)

There are groups of people who will

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stick to XP till the bitter end, like perhaps dentists, vets, MOT stations and anybody with specialised industrial equipment.

Is this going to be dangerous? Yes, but not in a Y2K

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October 25th, 2001 -> April 8th, 2014 RIP

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