Terry from Tennessee writes:
I still have XP on my PC (waiting- hoping there will soon be driver updates for printer and scanner to Win8 – not yet)
The day after the deadline lots of downloads being advised for my PC
A. I am paranoid thinking either bad guys trying to use this as ploy to take over OR
B. Gov’t trying to force compliance by destroying computers with XP OR
C. Microsoft has a grace period we don’t know about and I should update.
I did NOT update. What’s the correct answer here?
Microsoft did offer their final XP security update on April 8. Also many 3rd party security services offered updates based on Microsoft’s final patches.
The patches help fix six vulnerabilities that could be used to allow an attacker to take control of your computer. So an update from Windows or from your security provider is most likely legitimate.
An interesting fallout from the end of support from XP is that attackers will now be able to use future security patches for Windows 7 and Windows 8 to figure out ways to attack vulnerabilities in XP.
If you’re planning on holding on to XP, here are a few tips that could mitigate the risk:
Avoid surfing the Internet. Microsoft warns that crooks will likely be selling malicious exploit kits to attackers in order to build malicious websites to go after XP users. With no security support from Microsoft, many new attackers are liable to get into the game.
It doesn’t matter which browser you use, since these exploits are not tied to a particular browser. If you must go online, be very careful. But you’re safer not to go online at all with XP.
Opening e-mail and using Instant messaging could also invite malicious attacks. It doesn’t matter which IM or mail program you’re using. The safest thing is to avoid using XP systems for communications. If you must, do not click on links or open attachments.
Don’t think using removable drives like a USB system will keep you safe. These are a great tool for those looking to deliver malware. It’s better not to connect removable storage drives to an XP system.