It’s only 4 months until Windows XP becomes an ex parrot. PFE superstar Milad Aslaner walks us through some of the implications.
April 8th 2014 will be a very important day for most enterprises. After that day Microsoft is ending the support for Windows XP Service Pack 3, the last supported version of Windows XP.
So: what is the impact of this?
There will be no new security updates, hotfixes and no ability to receive free or paid support from Microsoft.
Tim Rains from Microsoft’s Trustworthy Computing team wrote recently: “Since a security update will never become available for Windows XP to address these vulnerabilities, Windows XP will essentially have a “zero day” vulnerability forever.” which is a very valid and important point.
If we look into the IT attack landscape there are two different types of enterprises: Those who realize that they’ve been hacked; and those who haven’t realized it yet.
Previously, attacks were primarily aimed at fortune 500 companies, but nowadays everyone and even their supply chains are targeted.
Because of this, it is becoming more important for IT Pros to make sure that their IT infrastructure is ready for the modern way of work.
When Microsoft releases a security update, malware engineers and researchers are often immediately working to reverse-engineer the update in order to gain insights into the vulnerability that has been fixed.
They will also attempt to try to use the same vulnerability in other products, and try it with different architectures.
That’s why Microsoft has the Microsoft Security Response Center (MSRC) in place. Their ultimate goal is to release security updates for all affected products simultaneously.
But after Windows XP reaches end-of-support, the MSRC team will stop performing the risk assessments it’s been doing on Windows XP desktop products for the last 10+ years.
Microsoft provides multiple resources to assist our customers to migrate to Windows 7 or Windows 8 (including 8.1):
- TechNet & MSDN
- Microsoft Security Compliance Manager
- Microsoft Services Engagements
Our modern operating systems, Windows 7 and Windows 8, provide multiple built-in security features which did not exist in Windows XP, (Ed: and are the product of a decade of further work with the Security Development Lifecycle)
BitLocker for data encryption, Trusted Boot for device integrity, and a full featured antimalware solution with Windows Defender are just few examples.
When it comes to Windows 8, Microsoft made sure that security is a top priority. The security capabilities are divided into 3 parts:
- Modern Access Control with biometrics, multifactor authentication and single sign-on.
- Malware Resistance with Provable PC Health, improvements that harden the system, Internet Explorer and Windows Defender.
- Protecting sensitive data with device encryption and Remote Business Data Removal.
As a personal note, I highly recommend that IT Professionals start migrating to Windows 8 or Windows 7 as soon as possible. Once Windows XP reaches end-of-support there will be no new updates or hotfixes, and you will have challenges defending your IT infrastructure from new attacks.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Milad Aslaner is a Premier Field Engineer for Windows Reliability in Microsoft’s Global Business Support Group. He is committed to improve the IT landscape of Microsoft’s most strategic customers by delivering workshops, chalk & talks and security analysis. Beside of this he leads development of training courses and diagnostic tools. In addition, Milad is a popular speaker at all major Microsoft technical conferences.
Posted by MSPFE editor-at-large, Tristan Kington