February 26, 2014
The looming Windows XP retirement is being called a "hacker's heaven."
On April 8, Microsoft will stop producing the monthly updates to the system that users have come to expect for the last dozen years.
"That means no more phone support for the operating system, no more security updates for it, no more enhancements," said Phil Jaderborg, president of PJ Networks.
Jaderborg says about a third of the computers in the world are still running XP.
Its retirement gives hackers an opportunity to release code that will never be patched.
"The next thing you know, somebody could potentially have access to their banking account information. If they're doing online shopping they may potentially get their credit card numbers. If they're doing anything using their social security information, all of that information will be up for grabs," he said.
And it's not just personal computers that could be vulnerable. Several companies and large organizations are Windows XP users, giving cyber criminals another path to your information.
"Once a hacker gets their hands on it, they're never going to let go of it. It's not like you can click a button and it deletes it," said Jaderborg.
Jaderborg's store has seen a massive uptick in business since Microsoft announced the retirement. He's even hired three new employees to meet the demand for upgrades and replacements.
He says there are a few things you can do if you or your business are still utilizing Windows XP:
-Switch over to a newer operating system like Vista, Windows 7 or Windows 8
-Move on to a Macintosh or Linux system
Computer users aren't required to do anything, but if that's the choice, Jaderborg says make sure you know the risk.
"Just because you have Windows XP on April 9 doesn't mean you're doing to get infected. It doesn't mean you're going to get hacked any more than running into a rainstorm or thunderstorm means you're going to get struck by lightning," he said, "But if you're on Windows XP after April 8, you're kind of running around in a thunderstorm with a golf club in your hand, waving it around in the air."
For more information on the Windows XP retirement, click HERE.