Microsoft XP’s outta here April 9; secure your computer with 3 steps

By Robb Hicken/ BBB’s chief storyteller

If you use Microsoft XP operating system on your computer, it will still work on April 9, but you should know a few things.  Microsoft will no longer provide security updates on XP systems, leaving them vulnerable to hackers, viruses, and security risks. Microsoft XP logo

Trying to keep the bugs out of the XP system on your own will be hard enough, and the scammers are aware of this.  The scammers will be calling.

Recently speaking in Nampa, three-fourths of the people in the audience raised their hands saying they are hooked up to the Internet. A third of those said they’ve already been contacted by someone purporting to be from Microsoft.

Microsoft is not going to call you claiming there is a problem with your XP system.  Microsoft’s Online Safety and Security Center states neither Microsoft nor its partners make unsolicited phone calls. Anti-malware updates for Microsoft Security Essentials will continue for a while, although you’ll no longer be able to download it on XP if you don’t already have it. But they won’t do much good without access to regular security updates.

According to Microsoft, once these scammers have access to the computer they can install malicious software, steal personal information, take control of the computer remotely or direct consumers to fraudulent websites where they are asked to enter their credit card information.

Cybercriminals claim to represent:

  • Windows Helpdesk
  • Windows Service Center
  • Microsoft Tech Support
  • Microsoft Support
  • Windows Technical Department Support Group
  • Microsoft Research and Development Team (Microsoft R & D Team)

BBB advises consumers follow these tips to protect themselves from scammers attempting to get access to their computer:

  • Go through your service provider directly. If you are concerned your computer may be exposed to viruses or other security threats, contact your service provider directly. Some providers offer free tools that can help detect and remove viruses.
  • Install virus detection. To help protect your computer from viruses make sure you have virus detection software installed on your computer. This software can also help identify if a virus appears on your computer.
  • Don’t trust cold calls. Never give out personal information, over the phone, to someone you don’t know. If the caller claims there is a security threat to your computer, hang up and call your computer company directly.
  • Find a computer repair company you can trust. Go to bbb.org to find a BBB Accredited Business you can trust.

Microsoft was asked to extend its deadline for ending support for Windows XP, but declined and instead offered — for new fees — “custom support agreements” offering limited protection. Custom government software built to run on the XP operating system has slowed the transition, and its the government that is asking for deadline extension.

Consumer Reports magazine says there are three necessary steps to take if your continue using the XP system to make sure your ID is secure. Upgrade your PC to Windows 7 or Windows 8.1, or buy a new computer;  Back up all your files on an external hard drive; Move your data to your new PC.

Bottomline: By the way, if you have Office 2003 — support ends on April 8, so these tips apply to you as well.

 

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1 Comment

Filed under News You Can Trust

One response to “Microsoft XP’s outta here April 9; secure your computer with 3 steps

  1. Mark Burrows

    I have fought hard a long time with Microsoft and their dictatorship of Operating System tyranny. They simply don’t care. They will tell you they care, but it’s all smoke and mirrors. They don’t realize that when they had a good thing, instead of expanding and improving upon that platform which is and was XP, they did not take long to ditch it. They were creating a program called Longhorn that was suppose to be based on the XP platform and be the ultimate in Operating Systems, but they have too many chefs and not enough cooks. Longhorn was taking too long and they were worried that if they did not get something to market quickly they would lose their spot at the top. So they split a group off from the Longhorn project who cobbled together what was known as Vista. Well we all know what a nightmare that was.
    Meanwhile, back at the ranch, the Longhorn project was being taken apart and changed around because their were new demands being placed in and on the market place that the new platform had to deal with, so the Longhorn project lost it’s XP appeal and became a much improved Vista and thus dubbed Windows 7. Well Windows 7 is not really all that bad, and still has enough familiarity to fit most people’s comfort zone. But even before Windows 7 was released, Microsoft started building the platform for Windows 8 because they knew they would have to compete in the iPhone, Android market and the higher usage of tablets.
    But, here is the point. Do you see any of the Apple home computers with a tablet or smartphone environment? Do you see any Linux based home computers with a tablet or smartphone environment, aka an android environment? No of course not. But Microsoft expects you to adapt your home computer environment so it works like a tablet or a smartphone.
    Oh by the way, smartphones will be replacing the ordinary flip phone or basic cellular phone and the wireless phone companies will be soon pushing the super phones. So, we are becoming more victims to target.
    Ain’t technology just dandy?
    Anyway, yes, don’t be bullied to give up a system you are use to, there are plenty of protection options out there, just buy them retail and only deal with the manufacture sites online. It doesn’t matter that you will not longer receive updates, Most of them are annoying anyway and fail to remove the previous ones and you can never be sure if you can safely remove them or not, so you are stuck with a couple of GB of junk you can’t touch because if you do remove them, other programs will stop working.

    Mark Burrows

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