377,000 Kiwi PCs under attack as Windows XP expiry date nears
New Zealand businesses and consumers with PCs still running old Windows XP software have less than six months to upgrade their operating system, or risk exposing their device to an outside attack.
That's the warning coming from Microsoft NZ headquarters, who claims failure to upgrade could result in PCs becoming infected by viruses or other security breaches.
On April 8, 2014, support will end for Microsoft's Windows XP operating system. From that date onwards there will be no further security updates or patches released, no number to call for technical assistance, and no online technical content updates from Microsoft.
Essentially, XP users in New Zealand and around the world will be on their own.
"We estimate that up to 377,000 PCs in New Zealand running Windows XP could be vulnerable to malware attacks after 8 April 2014 and we want to make sure than Kiwis upgrade before Microsoft stops supporting Windows XP, says Dean Edwards, Windows Business Group Manager, Microsoft New Zealand.
Much like other technology such as your mobile phone or digital camera, after 13 years XP is outdated.
As a result, Edwards says the software can no longer handle people's expectations around data privacy and productivity, or the types of sophisticated cyber-attacks that now exist.
The security risks for New Zealanders using XP will significantly increase, and both businesses and personal computers running XP will be impacted.
The latest statistics from Microsoft show in New Zealand:
• 18.8% of all personal PCs run Windows XP• 25.3% of PCs used by all types of businesses run Windows XP
Edwards claims it is concerning when looking at the number of computers in New Zealand still running Windows XP.
"We're well and truly at the stage where businesses and personal computer users need to upgrade to Windows 7 or Windows 8 - both to protect against risk, and to get the benefits of running a modern operating system," he adds.
"For businesses, upgrading an operating system takes time.
"Depending on complexity, small businesses could take three to six months to upgrade, and larger businesses can take six months or more.
"We are really worried that some New Zealand companies are cutting it too close to the end of support date."
Beyond security implications, hardware support for Windows XP and the availability of hardware drivers will continue to diminish, making the operating system progressively more difficult and costly to support.
In addition to this, an increasingly long list of modern software, such as Adobe Photoshop and Microsoft Office 2013, cannot be installed on Windows XP.
Customers can visit the Windows Upgrade Centre website, which features insights from analysts and customers on their XP OS migration journey, and the latest special offers from Microsoft's partners.