Criminals and rogue states are preparing an all-out offensive against users of a version of
On that day,
But there are today perfectly viable alternatives and disgruntled customers may prefer to use rival software offerings from companies such as Apple and Google or the free operating system Linux.
The withdrawal of support for Windows XP will create huge security vulnerabilities for organisations still running Windows XP after the cut off date, experts say.
"Malicious actors have been sitting on waiting for this day," says
"It's widely believed within the security community that foreign governments, sophisticated criminal organisations, and others may be stockpiling 'zero-day' Windows XP vulnerabilities for use after April," says
Research funded by the US-based IT consultancy CDW across
Despite the evident dangers of running Windows XP, 76 per cent of IT professionals surveyed said they still ran Windows XP on some devices. The industry places full blame for this on
"Windows XP is known for being very stable and relatively lightweight, meaning it runs smoothly on older hardware. Because of
The global downturn was also a factor in discouraging many organisations to upgrade. Those who admitted they were still running Windows XP in the CDW survey quoted budgetary and time constraints as the reason for not having already migrated their company's XP devices. Fifty-five per cent cited a lack of budget, 39 per cent a lack of time, and 31 per cent said they simply did not have the resources needed.
"Organisations currently maintaining PCs on Windows XP need to understand that they will put their networks and data at high and increasing risk if they continue to use it after
Hospitals running Windows XP are particularly vulnerable to hacking and malicious cyber attacks.
"Medical devices [running Windows XP] tend to be more difficult to upgrade or replace," says
However, according to
"Based on historical customer deployment data, the average enterprise deployment can take 12 to 18 months from business case through full deployment," says the
Fearing a major backlash from disgruntled users,
"The biggest issue is that XP is ancient: it has a poor security foundation ... It is unfit for purpose and needs taking out and shooting," says
"Mac OS X has been gaining traction in organisations, especially high-tech companies, while Chromebooks are gaining traction as a low-cost replacement for Windows PCs among home users," says
He says some organisations, particularly medical facilities, may consider upgrading from Windows XP to a variation of the free internet-based operating system Linux.
"Where you might see Linux get increased attention is as an embedded operating system for point of sale and medical devices, as vendors and businesses see the effect of depending on a proprietary operating system with a limited shelf life," says
"The new Windows delivers a touch experience along with full support for mouse and keyboard –so that users can have the convenience and mobility of a tablet, power and familiar experience of the full PC," says Ms McGee.
However, according to CDW's research, of those IT professionals who still run Windows XP on company computers, 49 per cent plan to upgrade at least some of their devices to Windows 7, while only 7 per cent plan to upgrade to Windows 8 or 8.1.
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