b2ap3_thumbnail_update_two_400.jpgLast week, six versions of Internet Explorer were diagnosed with a crippling vulnerability that could have potentially allowed hackers to take over your computer, install malware, or steal sensitive data. The threat was deemed so immediate that the United States and the United Kingdom both issued warnings advising against the use of Microsoft’s beloved web browser.

Thankfully, Microsoft released a patch on May 1st, 2014 – just three days after the bug was discovered. And, surprisingly enough, a patch was released for everyone’s favorite outdated operating system, Windows XP; the same operating system that Microsoft has been saying they will not support after April 8th.

Due to Microsoft’s vehement declarations about abandoning their golden child operating system, it was surprising to see them create a patch for it. Microsoft may have released the patch, but Dustin Childs of Microsoft Trustworthy Computing (Microsoft’s security group) still stands by the company’s original statement: “Windows XP is no longer supported by Microsoft.” If you are a Windows XP user, you shouldn’t take any chances with this statement. Though they have made an exception this time, you shouldn’t count on it happening again.

Iron Edge thinks that it doesn’t matter whether Microsoft continues to release patches for Windows XP or not. Honestly, the operating system is outdated and insecure, and will continue to be a hindrance to any companies who choose to continue using Windows XP. We recommend that you upgrade to a more recent operating system, such as Windows 7 or Windows 8.1, as soon as possible. If you don’t, you are putting your company and your livelihood at risk.

If this isn’t enough to make you upgrade your computer, perhaps proof that there are hackers exploiting Windows XP as you are reading this will convince you to change your mind. FireEye has discovered specific, targeted attacks that try to take advantage of Windows XP systems running Internet Explorer 8. Thankfully, these attacks are blocked by the latest patch, but the fact remains that they actually exist, and the threat is very real. Without the latest software patches and updates, you won’t be able to take advantage of all of the protection they provide. XP users could very well be missing out on important security updates in the near future, and you don’t want to count on Microsoft to keep making one exception after another.

A better option is to contact Iron Edge. It is proven that there are attacks against Windows XP, and it is a wise choice to upgrade away from the ancient operating system. We’ll stand by Microsoft’s advice to move on to a more recent OS, but better than that, we can help migrate your data and keep it safe on your new machine. Even better, Iron Edge can help you adjust to the drastic change that comes with a hardware replacement. You don’t have to face these challenges alone – contact Iron Edge at 832-910-9222, and we’ll protect you so you can focus on your business, not the security of your network.