Microsoft ended security support for Windows XP back in April of 2014. They were still providing virus definitions for XP in Microsoft Security Essentials. That meant that the virus removal tool could still find and remove malware, even though there would be no permanent fixes for the problem. Now Microsoft has stopped providing those definitions, meaning that XP is even more vulnerable.
Of course, the lack of security support didn’t stop my doctor’s office, bank and even the U.S. Navy from still using XP – but I really hope it keeps you off the Internet if you’re still using XP.
The company is also ending support for Windows Server 2003. Using a system without Microsoft security support is pretty scary when you look at the long list of security patches released for July. There were 14 patches released, including three that Microsoft rated “critical.”
Among them were fixes for flaws in Internet Explorer, the most severe of which could allow hackers to gain control of computer by making a specially crafted web page. Internet Explorer 8,9,10 and 11 were affected. Now, this doesn’t mean these exploits don’t apply to XP, it just means there aren’t any patches for them.
There were also fixes to vulnerabilities in Microsoft Office which could allow an attacker to send a specially crafted Office file, that when opened, could run arbitrary code on your PC. Among the systems affected were Windows Vista, Windows 7 Windows 8 and Windows 8.1. Windows RT and RT 8.1 are also at risk.
If you aren’t set for automatic updates, now is a good time to go to Windows update and run them.