One of my favorite lines from the movie ‘Monty Python and the Holy Grail’ is the one where a village peasant, played by John Cleese, is trying to put his father (who is clearly not dead) on the cart for dead people. The old man, slung over his son’s shoulder, is protesting and saying; “I’m not dead yet” and “I don’t want to go on the cart!” An amusing little scene and one that reminds me a little of all those XP users out there that simply refuse to put their machine on the cart and upgrade to either Windows 7, 8 or perhaps a Mac.
And by now I think most everyone is aware of the April 8th, 2014, deadline that came and went as the date that Microsoft officially stopped supporting this product. In case you have been living in 12th century England and haven’t heard, here’s a previous article we wrote about that for reference: Time is running out for XP users.
So what’s the point of my telling you all this, other than to get a classic Monty Python quote out there? Well, in the world of IT, today (Tuesday) is what we refer to as ‘Patch Tuesday’. It’s the second Tuesday of every month and the day that Microsoft releases security fixes and updates as necessary to their vast array of software products.
Microsoft announced that there are going to be eight security patches released in this round that include fixes for flaws in Windows, Office, Internet Explorer and SharePoint. And since XP is not supported anymore, users of this system will not be receiving these updates.
Security experts predict that there is an extremely high probability that hackers will be analyzing these patches to determine the original flaw in the operating system. Once determined, they could then look at the same code in the XP system and create an exploit which would then be used to target XP users.
Furthermore, Microsoft stated that it is rare for a patch to be released for an operating system such as Windows 8 that was not also pushed down to all the previous versions (7, Vista and XP). In fact, four of the eight getting released on Tuesday look like good candidates for hackers to scrutinize because they are fixing flaws in Vista, 7, 8 and 8.1. That sounds like a big hole and a big risk if you’re still running on XP.
So, if you’re in the medical field and you see enough biological viruses as it is, do yourself a favor and don’t invite any of the cyber ones in – get rid of those XP workstations if you still have them! Just like getting vaccinated or taking medicine to prevent or cure an illness, it’s time to protect yourself from XP issues, which are only going to get worse.