We all remember the massive 2017 WannaCry ransomware attack that affected computers in 100 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.

Some time ago, Microsoft announced that it was ending technical support and would no longer be issuing free technical support or software and security updates for the popular Windows 7 operating system on January 14, 2020.  However, it did provide some extended security support to help maintain legacy or older equipment that wasn’t easy to upgrade.  Now however, Microsoft has stopped all further security updates for Windows 7 thereby leaving Windows 7 users extremely vulnerable to dangerous hacking.  It is estimated that 10% of Windows users still use Windows 7.  If you are a Windows 7 user, you absolutely should update your software to Windows 10 to protect yourself.


Whenever security updates are provided for any of the software you use, you should install the updates as soon as possible and when a particular software program you use is no longer being updated, such as with Windows 7, you should upgrade to the newer software or in this case operating system to avoid being subject to security threats.

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