Thousands of New Zealanders could face serious computer complications from the 8th of April, according to Microsoft New Zealand.
With just one month to go until its Windows XP operating system is officially retired worldwide, Microsoft is urging New Zealand consumers still running the 12-year old software to take action now and upgrade their system to avoid exposure to cyber-attacks.
Support for the old operating system ends on April 8, 2014 which means that consumers and companies running XP after this date will become vulnerable to harmful viruses, spyware, and other malicious software which can steal or damage valuable information.
Windows XP still runs on approximately 300,000 PCs in New Zealand.
According to Frazer Scott, Director of Marketing & Operations at Microsoft New Zealand, the dangers of continuing to use XP beyond April 8 2014 are very real, and the risks should not be underestimated.
Scott says those still using Windows XP beyond 8th of April may need to deal with issues such as:
· Spyware accessing personal information from your PC including passwords and other private material
· Constantly being re-directed to malicious websites
· Sending or receiving spam emails
· The loss of valuable data stored on your PC: photos, videos, documents, emails
· PCs running slowly or being locked out altogether
· Banking transactions could be compromised
· For businesses, sensitive company data may be exposed, customer and supplier records lost, and finance and tax information could be destroyed
Scott says that while Windows XP was a great operating system for its time, it was not designed to handle the modern-day challenges of increasingly sophisticated cyber-attacks, or support functionality we now see as standard such as ubiquitous internet access, the use of tablet PCs and touch screens. In addition, many modern printers and scanners as well as a growing list of new PC software will not run on Windows XP.
“The number of computers still running Windows XP in businesses and homes around the country is alarming, as the risks of contracting harmful viruses and spyware is very real. Windows XP was launched in 2001 and is now four generations behind Microsoft’s most modern operating system. XP has been supported by Microsoft for over 12 years, longer than any other Windows version, but the time has come to move on,” Scott says.
Retiring a product is a normal part of the product lifecycle. Microsoft first announced that support would end for Windows XP in September 2007, since that time the company has been working with customers and partners to help them migrate existing Windows XP PCs to a modern operating system.
As a final reminder, Windows XP customers will receive an official notification on their desktop screen on March 8 2014 via Windows Update, informing them that support for Windows XP will end on April 8, 2014. This message will appear each month.