The death of Windows XP

Microsoft announced the end of life for their 12 year old operating system, Windows XP, and the end is nigh. In just 75 days, on April 8, 2014, the support for XP will end at last. 

The problem that will present itself is that there is still a not insignificant number of customers who are running this operating system. Not to mention the large swath of systems using embedded XP like automated teller machines (ATMs). 

Currently, Windows XP apparently constitutes roughly 30% of the global install base.

Tick tock, tick tock. Time is fast running out. 

What if the customer can't migrate from Windows XP? What then? Let's be honest. This is no surprise to anyone. We all knew this day was coming. Can't really feel overly bad for companies that will be caught when the lights go out. There has been no end of discussion about this topic. 

If you're left holding the bag what can you do? First off, there will be no more security patches made available after April 8, 2014 for Windows XP. Disconcerting if you're stuck in this untenable position. You can rest assured that they ne'er do wells are holding back a treasure trove of zero days and other wee beasties that they will let fly shortly thereafter. 

There is hope for companies that can afford to pay. 

From The Register: least 10 major UK and US organisations with more than 5,000 seats that are currently mid-migration will miss next April’s deadline.

And that’s likely going to cost them. Rather than go naked, large companies have the option to pay Microsoft for dedicated support, but it comes at eye-watering prices: $200 per desktop for year one, $400 for year two and $800 for a third year.

Ouch. Not cheap.

What about anti-malware protections?  /me duck and cover

Seriously though, what are the options? You know damn well there will be a need for this. Let's look at anti-malware as one control. Who will still be available to support you? Here is a quick sampling of vendors:

Vendor Product Support Reference
Symantec Endpoint Protection Partial Link
Intel (fmr McAfee) VirusScan Dec 2015 Link
Trend Micro Officescan Yes Link
F-Secure Client Security June 2016 Link
Kaspersky Endpoint Security Yes Link
Sophos Endpoint Security and Control Sept 2015 Link

Safe to say that if you aren't already migrating away from Windows XP you should do so...NOW! The real interesting wrinkle comes when you consider point of sale systems, ATMs and embedded systems that still use Windows XP. 

Things are going to get interesting.

(Image used under CC from Whiskeygonebad)

Copyright © 2014 IDG Communications, Inc.

22 cybersecurity myths organizations need to stop believing in 2022