Stories about hackers and virus attacks seem to be making the news almost every day, and many of these news stories include tips on how you can avoid becoming a victim. One common tip is making sure your Windows operating system is up to date.
Every day, hackers are trying to figure out new ways to break into Microsoft Windows. Once they find a weakness, they try and find a way to spread it. This could be through a malicious email attachment or even something that spreads without your involvement.
Whenever Microsoft discovers a potential flaw, they push out a small piece of software to all Windows computers that run a supported version. If set correctly, your computer will check if there’s any updates or patches and install them automatically. In new versions, this usually happens when you’re shutting down or starting up, and doesn’t impact your experience at all. Unfortunately, some users will manually disable or delay their automatic updates, creating a risky situation.
The update may include security patches, drivers, or a simple tweak to address bugs or issues with Windows. Sometimes, they even include new features or applications to improve the stability of your operating system. They’re a good thing!
Not All Versions Get Updates
Some older operating systems are no longer supported. This means that Microsoft won’t issue any new updates unless there are extenuating circumstances. Generally, if cyber-criminals discover a flaw after support ends, they’re free to exploit it. For example, Windows XP support ended in 2014, Windows Vista ended in 2019, and Windows 7 just ended in January this year. The moment an operating system retires, it becomes a playground for cyber-criminals.
It’s not just Microsoft walking away from these old versions either. Third party software like the Google Chrome browser will still work, but they’ve also stopped supporting old versions with crucial updates and patches. It might seem like everything is working fine because your anti-virus isn’t pinging in alarm, but it just becomes a case of risk, upon risk, upon risk.
What To Do With Older Windows
As much as you’re comfortable with your older version of Windows, each time you boot up you’re exposing your system, important files, and entire network. It only takes one weak entry point in the chain to allow malware into all connected devices. That could mean your photo storage, media center, or even smart appliances. It’s not worth it – if you’re running Windows Vista or 7 (or older), you need to update to a more modern operating system ASAP.
With our Managed Services packages, we’ll monitor your system remotely and apply your Windows updates while you’re out of the office, ensuring you are always up to date and protected.
STG IT Consulting Group would love to show you all we can offer as your Managed Service Provider.
Click here to schedule a free 15-minute meeting with Stan Kats, Client Engagement Specialist and Senior Technologist.
We proudly serve the Los Angeles and West Hollywood area for all of your IT needs. We look forward to meeting with you!