Businesses vulnerable as Microsoft ends support for Windows XP

Can you remember life before Windows XP? Well, back in those dark days, previous iterations of Windows had been pretty drab, with a grey “start” button and colourless menus. When XP XPloded onto our early flat-screens, it was like the transition from black and white to colour TV: quite exciting.

So today is a sad day for the operating system’s fans, and perhaps a worrying one. After 13 years of servicing its successful software, Microsoft has announced that it is ending support for XP as of today.

This means there will be no more updates or bug fixes, and users will be left to fend for themselves.

The move means that XP users will be at increasing risk of virus infection and could become easier targets for cyber-crime.

The British government, which still uses XP on a significant number of computers, has brokered a £5.5m deal with Microsoft to continue support for a further 12 months. The Dutch government has made a similar deal with the American company.

In the UK, 85% of all NHS computers are still running XP.

Worldwide, the figure is estimated to stand at around 20-25% of all users, according to the BBC.

Speaking to the BBC, Dave Emm, a senior research analyst at security firm Kaspersky, said: “Effectively, every vulnerability discovered after 8 April will become a zero-day vulnerability - that is, one for which there is not and never will be, a patch.”

Santiago Alviar-Baquero, Toshiba’s head of SMB and distribution for Northern Europe, warned the move will impact small and medium businesses. He said: “The end of support for Windows XP, a browser still used by 30% of the SMB market, will make 2014 the “year of the upgrade”, accelerating the slow and steady drift that we’re already seeing towards more modern and mobile technologies.

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