We all remember the massive 2017 WannaCry ransomware attack that affected computers in 74 countries including the UK where its entire health care system was affected. Ransomware is the name for malware that once installed on a computer, often unwittingly through clicking on links in spear phishing emails, encrypts and locks all of the victim’s data.  The cybercriminal then threatens to destroy the data unless a ransom is paid. A little discussed aspect of the massive WannaCry attack was that it exploited a a vulnerability in the Windows XP operating system which is extremely outdated and should not be used.  Technical support and updates for Windows XP ceased in 2014.  Just about all computer software has a lifecycle.  Much like a car which at some point becomes more difficult and expensive to fix rather than dispose of and get a new car, software vulnerabilities are constantly being patched, but at some point in time the software reaches the end of its life cycle and becomes too difficult and expensive to continue patching.  While you can choose to continue to use such software, it is extremely risky to do so because such unsupported software is a prime target for a myriad of cyberattacks.

Now, Microsoft has announced that it is ending technical support and will no longer be issuing free technical support or software and security updates for the popular Windows 7 operating system on January 14, 2020.  Continuing to use Windows 7 after that date is extremely dangerous and will open you up to what will be numerous malware attacks.

TIPS
If you have been using Windows 7 you should upgrade to the newer Windows 10 or some other operating system that is still being updated by the manufacturer.  Here is a link to an article that provides information on seven free alternatives to Windows 10.  https://www.makeuseof.com/tag/free-alternatives-to-windows-operating-systems/

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