The game is not new, but it repeats itself with eliminating uniformity: once again support for the Windows version has ended – this time for Windows 7. However, older systems continue to run on many computers and are increasingly becoming a security risk. No further updates, meaning that any new security gaps discovered remain open and give criminals a chance to break into computers and do what they do there.
The analysis company StatCounter identified a good four million Windows 7 devices when evaluating user data from two million websites in Germany. As well as older and insecure Windows versions Vista, XP and 8, it connects 5.2 million devices that are insecure.
For large companies and some executives who still use Windows 7 or other older systems on computers, the problem is not severe enough, but expensive. You can continue to get support for ancient Windows through special payments. On the other hand, small companies and private individuals are at great risk.
Some may wonder why he should become the target of criminals. But whoever is on the Internet always tells which system is running on the computer. Then it may be enough to visit a page that contains a script with malicious intent. Such scripts can be hidden in advertising banners, for example, which sometimes find their way to reputable sites as well. This could not be easier for hackers.
Years known before when support for a system would cease
The amazing thing about this problem is its repetition. And this despite the fact that it is already known when support for a system will end. In the company context, it may be an economical idea to use older systems for longer. Often there are also older programs that no longer work with newer Windows versions. Replacing them can be more expensive than paying for support renewal.
In the case of private users, it is more likely that ignorance or apathy is behind the refusal to update – or the fear of breaking something. Microsoft gave Windows 10 a free update to please pay attention to the update and was angered by the constant signals. Most computers that could handle Windows 7 can also run version 10 without any problems. This control applies to software, so-called drivers, for peripheral devices such as printers.
Of course, it cannot be dismissed from the outset that the manufacturer Microsoft is behind the calculated support cycles to sell its new software, with corporate customers still having to pay for it. But he used to be very bad. In the past, almost every new version of Windows required new hardware because older computers were usually overwhelmed.
If a loophole is closed, criminals find a new loophole
But there have been many improvements in the operating system over the years, not only in the interface that normal users see, but also in the engine room. This particularly applies to security architecture. It is not necessary to be of interest to users of how the operating system handles internal processes, but often has to guard against threats.
They are also constantly changing. If one of the flaws is closed, the search for a new one begins. And since systems are huge structures with millions of lines of code, they inevitably contain flaws. So it is never thought of before discovering and tapping the next hole – information about it spreads very quickly in the respective circles. And then anyone can become a victim: by stealing sensitive data or turning a computer into a remote-controlled zombie that sends spam emails.