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Windows XP Is Still Widely Used Among Businesses

Tue, 04/12/2016 - 09:17 -- Kayla Smith

Photo by Nick Perla. Creative Commons

Though Windows XP has not been supported by Microsoft for over two years, it continues to be used widely by many companies and organizations. During the past two years, there have been no security patches or updates released to users. Despite this, companies continue to play with fire and rely on an insecure environment. Use of Windows XP is so widespread, in fact, that it runs on one in every ten computers worldwide. 

You might think that most Windows XP users are elderly people just using their computer to check email. However, you will be surprised to find that many large corporations and even government entities continue to use the ancient operating system including the U.S. Navy and the U.S. Army (though both the Navy and the Army are receiving special support from Microsoft). According to CIO.com, 95% of ATMs use Windows XP, creating a hotbed for hacking and exploitation. Windows XP is being used in the majority of the nation’s electric and gas utilities and that is downright scary. The U.S. News and World Report stated that if even 9 of the 55,000 electrical substations went down due to a cyberattack, “the nation would be plunged into a coast-to-coast blackout.”

If so many large scale companies are still using Windows XP, we would venture to guess that many small and medium businesses use it as well.

Why is it dangerous to keep using Windows XP? According to Andrey Pozhogin of security firm Kaspersky Labs, "When a company ends support, like Microsoft did, then vulnerabilities don't get fixed. If these vulnerabilities get public, [they] will be all over the Internet and easy to exploit.”

Here are some other reasons to upgrade to a modern operating system:

  • Windows XP makes a business or individual incredibly vulnerable to all of the “bad stuff” out there on the internet including malware, hackers, ransomware, viruses, etc. The malicious code that infects systems can steal or damage data.
  • Even if one of your workstations is running Windows XP, it can act as a route to infect all of your other systems, including your server. Before you know it, your entire network is under attack.
  • Most software companies have abandoned Windows XP. For example, if you are using Google Chrome, who no longer makes security updates for Windows XP, you are that much more vulnerable to infections.

Many Amarillo businesses and organizations (including some local government entities) continue to use Windows XP, putting themselves and their customers at risk. For two years, it has been no longer acceptable or safe to use the operating system. If you are a business that is required to be HIPAA or PCI compliant, you aren’t if you use Windows XP and you could be fined thousands of dollars for failure to comply.

You must upgrade your workstations to a modern operating system. To get started, contact us using the form to the right. We’ll take care of you and get you up to date. 

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