Windows XP users risk "car crash" scenario by sticking with old OS

Cybercriminals may be hoarding exploits for post-8 April attacks

Using out of support Windows XP is the equivalent of driving down a motorway without a seatbelt on, it has been claimed.

With Microsoft issuing its final security update for the 12-year-old operating system on Tuesday 8 April, there have been repeated calls for those still on XP to upgrade to Windows 7 or 8.

However, approximately one third of all PCs are thought to still run the legacy platform.

Will Markham, security practice lead at Colt, told attendees at a press briefing last Friday that continuing to use XP after the 8 April deadline is "like driving down the motorway with [your] seatbelt on and then suddenly taking it off".

"You might have a crash, you might not, but you have seriously increased your risk [if you do]," he explained.

Markham further claimed the likelihood that cybercriminals have been hoarding exploits in anticipation of XP exiting support was high.

Kevin Norlin, VP and GM EMEA of Dell Software, claimed it was "fear of the unknown", including how well applications will run in new environments, that had made people put off migration until the last moment.

"But of course the longer you put it off, the more difficult it will be," he added.

Indeed, both the UK government and a number of banks have had to go to extraordinary, and expensive, lengths to extend Microsoft's support for their XP systems.

Terry Willis, head of information security at charity Age UK, laid the blame for XP's perseverance on Microsoft.

"A big problem is that Vista was so terrible, so companies just didn't move off XP," he claimed.

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