“…the time came for us, along with our hardware and software partners, to invest our resources toward supporting more recent technologies … As a result, technical assistance for Windows XP is no longer available, including automatic updates that help protect your PC.” - Microsoft.com
And with that, Microsoft ended support for Windows XP. So what does this mean to the more than half a billion XP users out here?
Well, first it means you should be very careful, and if you follow a few simple suggestions you can reduce your exposure to hackers, viruses and malware.
Not connecting to the internet is an almost 100 percent solution. This of course may be impractical because the applications you run on XP will in all likelyhood require internet access to get and install their own updates. So for now, keep the “no internet access” solution as a last resort.
- Create a user with limited access (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=w-a-P208bLU) and protect the existing accounts with passwords. Users with limited privileges cannot make changes to your computer’s hardware or software.
- Keep other software up-to-date and remove old or unused applications
- Use a secure browser like Firefox or Chrome
- Keep your antivirus software current
All these will help to prevent malicious exploits but none of them works unless you are vigilant. Be careful of sites you visit and maintain physical security of the PC. Don’t allow unrestricted access to USB ports and card readers because these are alternate ways your system can be hacked.
Celestine Daniels and Aubrey Phillips are I.T. professionals with a proactive mindset and experience in networking, systems design, programming, training, and information systems security.