Woes Set to Worsen for Windows XP Users



/ 1 month ago

Woes Set to Worsen for Windows XP Users

Windows XP, Microsoft’s 15-year-old operating system, fell victim to massive ransomware attack during the last week. Services across Europe were hit, including the UK’s National Health Service (NHS), which shut down hospitals and clinics around the country. The outdated XP, which Microsoft ended its support for in 2014, is still a prominent operating system across the globe. According to NetMarketShare, XP still has a 9.11% market share, which makes it the third-most-popular OS in the world.

Microsoft issued an emergency Windows XP patch to protect against the WannaCry ransomware, but industry analysts warn that this attack is just the start. If you’re still using XP on an Internet-connected machine, the risks are about to get worse.

Vista is Partly to Blame

When Windows XP was released in 2001, it was considered the first stable version of Microsoft’s operating system. The OS became a key component of internal business IT networks and synonymous with home PCs.

“It was one of the first Microsoft operating systems people latched onto,” Peter Tsai, IT analyst at Spiceworks, told Wired.

Microsoft released a successor to XP, Windows Vista, in 2007. Microsoft expected Vista to build on the success of XP, but the software was a failure. Performance and compatibility issues meant that users became reluctant to upgrade and new users opted for the OS that worked. Businesses that did upgrade to Vista lived to regret it. Their hands burnt, many reverted back to XP and stuck with it, some until the present day. It became cheaper and less, in theory, to stick with the system that worked. Vista’s broken legacy is still in effect.

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“A lot of smaller companies subscribe to the theory, probably wrongly now, that if it’s not broken then don’t fix it,” Tsai explained. “Especially companies that aren’t prioritising IT.”

What Can XP Users Expect Next?

The WannaCry ransomware was born out of the NSA hacking tools leaked by the Shadow Brokers last year. WannaCry is just the first. Expect more, and expect them soon. Microsoft has patched one vulnerability, but there are countless more ripe for exploitation. If the Redmond company responds to them all, it could find itself in a desperate game of Whac-a-Mole. Just because Microsoft patched XP this time, though, doesn’t mean it will again.

“It can give users a false sense of security and does not motivate them to upgrade to systems whose security architecture is superior and can be improved on,” Jérôme Segura, lead malware intelligence analyst at Malwarebytes, warned.

Even WannaCry itself is evolving:

If you can, ditch Windows XP now. Just over that hill, there’s a storm brewing.


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  • AJSB

    TOTAL FUD article.

    200000 PCs were hit by WCry.
    A significant number of those hit were running *unpatched* versions of Vista, W7, W8.x and EVEN W10.
    There are up to at least150 MILLIONS XP machines in the world.

    Windows 7, 8, Vista (and 10 was also but MS patched it automaticity before the attack started) are ALSO vulnerable to WCry. This is why MS ALSO made emergency patches to them (except for VISTA, LOL).

    In fact, ALL MS operating systems (including W10) are and WILL CONTINUE to be vulnerable to (new forms of) ransomware.

    Main reason to get ransomware is people opening emails that shouldn’t open, use pirate software (, going to devious porns sites is also dangerous),etc.

    I receive EVERY DAY emails that i consider suspicious, NEVER open them, trash them at my mail provider level, and black list the sender right away.

    In a nutshell, REJECT ALL EMAILS that you are not supposed to receive. TRUST NO ONE….in special unexpected emails with links or attachments….REMEMBER, image files CAN have virus or other nasty stuff embedded. So again, careful with emails (my mail provider automatically disables ALL images in the emails, only shows them if i manually request it to show them in a per-mail basis).

    Proud owner of W7 *AND* XP machines 😀

    • AJSB

      Blocked.
      Have a nice day.