In five months Microsoft will stop issuing free patches for Windows 7. Yet millions of PC users are still using the operating system, potentially leaving them vulnerable to serious malware infections.
In April 2017 there were an estimated one billion Windows operating system users in the world. From this figure just under a half were projected to be using Windows 7. Today the number of Windows 7 users has fallen to 36% of total Windows user as the migration to Windows 10 kicks in.
These figures are rough approximates but they do at least provide a sense of scale. Recent research suggests that approximately 15 million people are still using either Windows 7 or Windows XP while 14 million small businesses/home offices are also still using Windows 7 or Windows XP.
Given that widespread patch support for XP ended officially in 2014 and Windows 7 support is set to expire in January 2020 an awful lot of computers are vulnerable.
AN old unpatched operating system is a serious cyber security risk and the cost of a malware incident, such as a ransomware infection, may end up being much higher than the cost of upgrading to a new operating system.
Without patches Windows 7 will in the future be vulnerable to bugs like the recently disclosed BlueKeep bug and others:
- The BlueKeep vulnerability is a bug that can allow hackers to exploit Remote Desktop Services to access and run code on a PC without needing a password or any user interactions.
- Windows 7 was the version of Windows most widely affected by WannaCry ransomware, which locked around 300,000 PCs in May 2017.
- WannaCry also infected a large number of computers running the XP operating system which was no longer supported by Microsoft.
Upgrades are important. Many people think they are a marketing scheme or a conspiracy for getting you to buy more products and software. While there is a clear commercial element to operating system upgrades they also usually signal a step change improvement.
We’re not blowing a trumpet for Microsoft, we just want our customers to remain safe, but Windows 10 is easy to use and you won’t even give it a second thought after using it for a day.