By Claire Gordon • 16 January 2022 • 13:15
Millions of people are running their computers on outdated software and running the risk of leaving their devices open to malicious malware attacks that could see them lose all their personal details to hackers. This comes from a German study by the security company Eset, which was published on Saturday 15 January.
The majority of the unsafe systems are running on Windows 7. This piece of software, along with outdated versions of Windows Vista, Windows XP and Windows 8, are not covered by the current security features of Microsoft and leave ‘backdoors’ into people personal devices. Windows version 8.1 also expires in a year.
“The use of outdated software is grossly negligent,” said Thorsten Urbanski, security expert at Eset when speaking to Berliner Zeitung. For private users and especially companies, the use of outdated system software can be expensive in the event of damage. “One vulnerability, for example in an operating system that is no longer supported, is enough for attackers to have a foot in the door and permanent access to the victim’s computer.”
Companies and government agencies not only run a higher risk by ignoring the end of support for Windows 7 and other outdated versions of Windows because it makes malware attacks easier. According to experts, anyone who does not take care of the updates is also violating the European General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). The EU directive requires compliance with the “state of the art” in the processing and use of personal data.
Among the Microsoft operating systems, Windows 7 was generally considered mature and secure. After the end of official support from the US software company, however, many security gaps were discovered that were no longer closed. Private users of this piece of software no longer have access to the security updates and run the risk of malware attacks. And that could have fatal consequences for online banking, for example, warns security expert Uhlemann, as reported by Berliner Zeitung. The advice from the experts is to update to a more up to date piece of software and install the security updates as soon as possible.
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