RIP XPAre you still using Windows XP Operating System on your computer?  You are?  Really?  Oh, Wow!

On the positive side, this shows you know a good thing when you own one and you are loyal to a fault.

On the negative side, you are about to lose a valued friend; and, if you don’t prepare now for that event, you are setting yourself up for pretty much guaranteed doses of hacks, attacks and cyber crimes.

Windows XP was one of Microsoft’s most successful operating systems. It was introduced in August, 2001; it will be put to rest on April 14, 2014. When Microsoft lays an operating system to rest, it means, in Microsoft’s own words, that “there will be no new security updates, non-security hotfixes, free or paid assisted support options or online technical content updates.”  Zilch, nada, nic, nicht ein, zéro updates, security patches or support.

“So what?” you say.  “I will still use XP because it is still usable.  It works just fine for me and for what I do. Who cares about updates and patches!”

If you have this attitude and plan to continue to use XP after next April 14th, then there is one step you MUST  take – pull the plug on your internet connection!   Wired or wireless – after April 14th, 2014, don’t ever use that computer to connect to the internet again!!!  Not Ever! Never!

Here’s why: Hackers, cyber criminals, malicious code writers all have the Windows XP end date on their calendars! Anticipating that there will remain many, many XP operating systems online, the bad guys have a big incentive to take advantage of the vulnerabilities of those many, many unpatched systems with the exploit codes they are ready to unleash at that time. They realize there will be no protections against their exploits – no patches, not even anti-virus and/or malware protection programs (which cannot protect against unpatched operating system exploits).

Stolen identities, emptied bank accounts, credit card fraud, commandeered computers into bot nets – these are some of the anticipated worldwide impacts of huge consequence. By not upgrading your computer to a current operating system now or at least planning to pull your XP system offline by April 14, 2014, you are actually abetting cyber crime. Please consider the consequences as very serious before you choose to ignore the XP support end date.

Edmund Burke famously said – “The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.”   Please do not do nothing…

PS   If you don’t know what a bot net is and why it is seriously dangerous to you, your community and the world, please see my post – Botnets? Zombie Armies? What the Hack are They and Why Should I Care?