Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Exposure when Windows XP support ends begs the question will Chrome, Firefox and Opera browsers be supported.

A vulnerability appeared on US Dept of Labor site where the exploit was installing the Poison Ivy backdoor Trojan.

Redmond probes new IE 8 vulnerability... Read More

When I read this article it reinforces the exposure users will face come April 2014 when Microsoft ends support for Windows XP. At that time I can only guess they will also end supporting their anti-virus program and Internet Explorer 8. In effect users will be left exposed and this is a concrete example of how users can end up with infected computers if they continue to use Internet Explorer 8.

When a computer operating system reaches end of support it doesn’t mean it stops and in fact the computer will continue to serve a useful purpose for some time into the future. The problem is this can mean users may be exposing themselves as malware writers take advantage of unpatched computers. As we move towards April 2014 we need to make sure we’ve moved away from areas where there is potential risk.

The problem is we don’t know what other vendors will do. We’ve seen Google with Gmail decide to stop supporting Internet Explorer 8 (which I felt was a deliberate strategy to move people to Google Chrome when Microsoft stopped looking after their users) with the reason given Google only support the current plus previous browser version. What will happen with Chrome when Windows XP reaches end-of-life support? I certainly don’t know and probably won’t know until we come closer to April 2014 or even after that date.

At this point all we really know is at April 2014 Windows XP will reach end of support. Then we’ll see which companies continue to provide support and which don’t. For those who wish to continue to use their computer and not buy a new computer, you could use a secure boot disk (I can provide these to clients) for use when on the internet and use local applications when using Windows XP. A good idea is to remove the ability for Windows XP to connect to the internet which would minimise exposure. Overall however you need to decide whether or not this is worth the effort or should you just move with the times.   

- Kelvin Eldridge
Call 0415 910 703 for help with your computer problem.
Servicing Templestowe, Doncaster, Eltham and the surrounding area.

1 comment:

  1. My apologies to readers of my blog and my clients. The end of support of Windows XP is not necessarily related to the end of support for Internet Explorer 8. This issue was an Internet Explorer 8 issue and not necessarily an operating system issue.

    Unfortunately I like everyone else will have to filter out the real information from the massive campaign Microsoft is running to get users to upgrade to a later version of Windows. Unfortunately a third of machines running Windows XP can't be upgraded to Windows 8 but that doesn't necessarily mean you need a new computer.

    Like the Year 2000 bug marketing, scare tactics will be used to generate sales for consultants, retailers and software suppliers. None of my clients needed to be replace or upgrade their computers for the Year 2000 bug, but if you listened to everyone at the time many people would have.

    As I find out additional information I'll share the information with clients via emails and the MyAnswers service.

    In summary Windows XP is the operating system. The browser you use is separate and may be able to be patched to protect you from exposure when using the internet. Only the developers of the browsers will know when there is an exposure they can't work around.

    I trust that clarification will assist others.



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