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Still using Windows 7? This is how you can keep your computer safe from attackers

Cybercriminals will try to take advantage of the situation through targeted attacks.

, ET Bureau|
Last Updated: Jan 23, 2020, 04.12 PM IST
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Agencies
Within a week of Microsoft withdrawing support to Windows 7, the frailties of the old version were exposed, as evidenced by data from anti-virus firms which have products running on these machines.
Within a week of Microsoft withdrawing support to Windows 7, the frailties of the old version were exposed, as evidenced by data from anti-virus firms which have products running on these machines.
Enterprise software is hard to replace. The high cost associated with acquiring and upgrading often keeps corporations hooked to a particular version of a product till something fungible can be sourced. This often happens after the incumbent product no longer serves the purpose, or if exposes the corporate network to vulnerabilities.

Microsoft’s decision to withdraw support of Windows 7 will renders millions of computers across the world vulnerable to attack. While newer versions to Microsoft’s credit, it had given users an extended window to swap their old software for the latest iteration of Windows.

But users who did not opt in at the time will now have to deal with advanced threats since security patches will no longer cover their system software.

“With Microsoft no longer supporting Windows 7 devices, any new vulnerability will no longer be patched by the manufacturer. This will leave these devices, as well as users and their critical data, at heightened cyber risk. There are already reports of a significant increase in the number of cyber-attacks targeting Windows 7 devices and the situation will only get worse,” said Trishneet Arora, CEO, TAC Security.
Users who did not opt in at the time will now have to deal with advanced threats since security patches will no longer cover their system software.
Users who did not opt in at the time will now have to deal with advanced threats since security patches will no longer cover their system software.

The popularity of Windows 7 could prove to its undoing in the current circumstances. “Worldwide, roughly 26% of PC users are still running Windows 7, the operating system (OS) that as of January 14 will no longer receive technical support in the form of updates and patches from Microsoft. According to our own research, more than a third (38%) of our PC customers have Windows 7 installed, which is largely down to ongoing preference for the product versus newer versions,” said Martin Zima, Senior Product Manager for Protection Products at Avast.

Within a week of Microsoft withdrawing support to Windows 7, the frailties of the old version were exposed, as evidenced by data from anti-virus firms which have products running on these machines. “The best thing for enterprises and individuals with systems still operating on Windows 7, in this scenario, is to upgrade to the latest OS versions as soon as possible. Enterprises, in particular, must also look at investing in cutting-edge vulnerability management solutions to address the additional threat-risk,” said Arora of TAC Security.

“Windows 7 devices are now extremely vulnerable to cyber-attacks. Any newly-discovered vulnerability will not be patched by Microsoft and these devices will also not receive the periodic updates that make it difficult to execute exploit codes. Cybercriminals will try to take advantage of this situation through targeted attacks. Installing strong security software will be essential for users and enterprises operating these systems,” he added.

However, small companies incapable of making an immediate upgrade might be forced to invest in third-party software to sanitize their computers. “In the interest of our users’ security and privacy, Avast will continue to provide virus definition updates for Windows 7 for those who are unable or do not wish to make the switch to a newer version of Windows,” said Zima of Avast.

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2019 was a year of technology as a lot of companies showed optimism with their mind-blowing smartphones. In a race to win over their customers, various smartphone brands promised the ultimate smart experience with features like pop-up selfie camera, 20x zoom, 5G and foldable screens. While the much-awaited devices like Apple 11 Pro Max, Samsung Galaxy Note 10 Plus, OnePlus 7T Pro were reviewed highly, disappointment came from the Google flagship when the company said Pixel 4 and 4 XL won't launch in India. Since smartphones have become an integral part of out lives, here's a list of all the devices launched this year that deserve reconsideration.
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