On the 14th January 2020, extended support for Windows 7 will end. This means that devices using an enterprise network will be at greater risk to unpatched vulnerabilities unless they upgrade away from Windows 7.
Microsoft have published an article outlining the risks. Working on unpatched, old systems, increases the risk of infection with viruses, spyware and malicious software designed to steal personal information.
The latest version of Windows should be used (at present this is Windows 10, version 1803). Whilst there is a cost to upgrading obsolete platforms, it is the most effective way of ensuring networks and devices are secure.
As Microsoft say in their article on what this means, “An unsupported version of Windows will no longer receive software updates from Windows Update. These updates include security updates that can help protect your PC from harmful viruses, spyware, and other malicious software which can steal your personal information. Windows Update also installs the latest software updates to improve the reliability of Windows—such as new drivers for your hardware”.
Many of you will remember when Windows XP went out of support in 2014. It wasn’t long after that before exploitation of the final version of the platform became fairly widespread. Malware can spread much more easily on obsolete platforms because, without security updates, known vulnerabilities will remain un-patched. As a result, it’s crucial to move away from them as quickly as possible.
Duncan is a technology professional with over 20 years experience of working in various IT roles. He has a interest in cyber security, and has a wide range of other skills in radio, electronics and telecommunications.