University of Southern California

Another Reason to Upgrade from Windows XP

Posted on by mbordas

ITS highly recommends that users of Windows XP upgrade to a more recent version of the operating system before its end of support date on April 8, 2014.

If you are still using the Windows XP operating system, there are many reasons to consider upgrading to a more recent version of Windows. One reason, as described by Microsoft’s Director of Trustworthy Computing Tim Rains in a blog post this week, is that future patches to supported operating systems could give malicious users information about vulnerabilities in Windows XP.

By reverse-engineering new patches, malicious users are sometimes able to determine how to take advantage of the specific vulnerability a patch was designed to fix. This is of little use against a system on which the patch is installed, but could allow malicious users to attack an unpatched system.  Users of Windows XP, which will be a perpetually unpatched operating system after its end of support date, will face big problems if these vulnerabilities turn out to be “backwards-compatible”.  If a vulnerability in Windows 7, for example, also affects Windows XP, users of the older system will have no defense against it.

The Microsoft support site contains information on upgrading from XP to newer versions of Windows:

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