I’m going to admit it. I’m probably the only one ever to do it, but here goes.
I’ve always been a little freaked out by the XP-end-of-support page on Microsoft’s website.
First, there’s the dramatic headline – Windows XP support has ended – looming over the rest of the page’s copy in large black 44 pixel font. The sentence itself is lost amid an expansive, desolate pale-blue background.
It’s…unsettling. Support is over, done, complete. There’s no support.
And it doesn’t get better.
Just below the major header is a sentence you can’t possibly ever say to yourself without getting the smallest tinge of sadness:
Why is this happening?
I hope I’m not going too far when I say that the above phrase doesn’t necessarily lend itself to copy used for “software usage.”
It just sounds better suited for, well, moments on considerable frustration. Perhaps in what could be referred to as a “trying time.”
Try this for an exercise: Google “Why is this happening?”. There’s a lot there and not a lot of it is…nice.
All dramatic embellishment aside, the page effectively states what has been known since XP’s creator made it official in April 2014 – Microsoft no longer supports the 13-year-old operating system.
No more security patches and updates. What Microsoft had been warning for quite some time had come true.
In no uncertain terms, Microsoft gives users two options:
- Keep using Windows XP – unprotected
So if you don’t upgrade, at the very least, there’s the security risk — one that some say is being exploited now. Toby Wolpe, a writer for ZDNet, says in an article that Windows XP is at the center of recent cyber security attacks, “predominantly targeting US banks.”
The only thing more unsettling than the risk is the amount of people that haven’t heeded Microsoft’s warning. Sure, some have, but certainly not all.
About 24% of the World’s PCs are Still Running Windows XP
According to NetMarketShare, 23.87% of all PCs are still running Windows XP.
In other words, nearly a quarter of the computers in the world are still running an operating system that Microsoft slapped end-of-lifed over six months ago.
That’s not all. The reason we know that 23.87% of computers are still running XP is because they are connected to the internet.
What about the computers we don’t know about? What about the PCs sitting behind government firewalls? An estimated 10% of the several million of government PCs were still running XP by the cut-off date.
There’s a bigger population of systems to factor into the equation as well – non-PCs and embedded systems, which number in the billions.
So what exactly constitutes as a non-PC that runs Windows XP?
Well, it’s something you use every day and as it turns out, like, say, an automated teller machine. And it’s probably running an outdated version of XP.
95% of All ATMs in the US Still Run XP
The next time you walk up to an automated tell machine think about this: You’re probably giving your bank card and PIN number to a machine that is running an operating system deemed “unprotected” by its very distributor.
According to the latest research, nearly all (that’s 95%) ATMs run XP.
Hackers have recently started injecting malware into ATMs to drain the machine’s cash – all without a card or a PIN number.
On Oct. 7, 2014, Kaspersky Labs’ Global Research & Analysis Team released news of a cyber-criminal attack involving malware “that allowed attackers to empty the ATM cash cassettes via direct manipulation.”
There have so far been four reports of hacked ATMs in the US. According to Kaspersky Labs, “the malware affects ATMs from a major ATM manufacturer running Microsoft Windows 32-bit.”
75% of Water Utilities Still Use XP
The simple idea that three-fourths of the nation’s water and wastewater utilities are running an unsupported, over-10-year-old operating system, speaks for itself.
So, let’s not belabor the point. Instead, let’s ask, what’s going on here? What’s keeping water facilities from making the switch?
Last May, Matt Wells, general manager of automation software at GE Intelligent Platforms, told Forbes.com that said many utilities have a “if it’s ain’t broke, don’t fix it” approach to networks.
The machines that run huge utility plants are expensive and have lifespans of 30 years or more, Wells said. New applications can be added without touching the underlying operating system.
Additionally, plant managers worry about taking a system offline for upgrades. The switchover, Wells said, could drive up costs.
But then there’s the security issue. Specifically, the matter that parts of the critical infrastructure are using a system that, left unprotected, is five times more vulnerable to security risks and viruses.
There’s still a significant amount of businesses, plants, and utilities, running XP. Are you running XP? Have a plan for moving on? Not sure what to do next?
Get in touch with us and let us know if we can help.