Intelligence agency warns individuals, companies to stop using Windows 7

*Lack of updates now makes operating system vulnerable to hackers

Isola Moses | ConsumerConnect

Microsoft Corporation having discontinued its regular updates for the operating system (OS), individuals, companies and organisations that still rely on Windows 7 to conduct their business may want to quickly reconsider that decision.

The United States (US) Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) earlier in the week issued a warning that a lack of support for the operating system has made it vulnerable to hackers, according to agency report.

Businesses that continue to use it are opening themselves up to hacking attempts by malicious third-parties, stated the FBI.

In a private industry notification, it said: “The FBI has observed cybercriminals targeting computer network infrastructure after an operating system achieves end of life status.

“Continuing to use Windows 7 within an enterprise may provide cyber criminals access into computer systems.

“As time passes, Windows 7 becomes more vulnerable to exploitation due to lack of security updates and new vulnerabilities discovered.”

ConsumerConnect recalls that in connection with the increased risk of being hacked, Microsoft announced earlier this year that it was ending support for Windows 7.

The global technology giant said that the decision would mean that it would “no longer provide technical support, software updates, or security updates or fixes.”

It was further learnt that this development now represents a huge risk to businesses who still rely on the operating system.

The intelligence agency doing so greatly increases the risk of hackers being able to compromise internal systems and gain access to potentially sensitive information.

“With fewer customers able to maintain a patched Windows 7 system after its end of life, cyber criminals will continue to view Windows 7 as a soft target,” FBI stated.

Meanwhile, the agency is advising companies to switch to an operating system that has active support to avoid additional hacking risks.

Although making that switch may be inconvenient, the agency’s officials say the risks of the alternative are too high.

It said: “Migrating to a new operating system can pose its own unique challenges, such as cost for new hardware and software and updating existing custom software.

“However, these challenges do not outweigh the loss of intellectual property and threats to an organisation.”

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