Windows XP Advisory -- Support Ends April 8

What does end-of-support mean?
Microsoft will stop support for Windows XP on April 8, 2014. There will be no further patches, bug fixes, or security fixes for Windows XP after that date.
Why is this important?
Without updates, hackers will have easier, unprotected methods of deploying malware to steal data, grab credentials, cause computers to fail, or use PCs to attack other computers. At the University this could result in an expensive data breach or lost productivity. At home, this could result in identity theft or compromise of your University credentials if you were to log in to University systems from home.
Who does this affect?
This only affects people who use PCs that run the Windows XP operating system. This does not affect those using Windows Vista, Window 7, Windows 8, Macintosh or Linux systems. This affects home computers as well as your computer at work.
What can we do?
  1. Upgrade: If you are running XP, now is the time to upgrade your system. For most people this means purchasing a new computer. On Microsoft's website, they discuss ways to test your system for upgradability and paths to upgrade to Windows 7 or 8.
  2. If you are unable to upgrade a University PC, identify the computer to campus IT. Take actions to remove the PC from the network or isolate it. If the computer cannot be upgraded due to dedicated software, IT can assist you with locking down the PC to run only needed functions.
  3. Remove compliant or personal data. Don't log on to University sites or make important transactions with the computer.
  4. Be prepared for the machine to cease operations by backing up data and developing contingency plans.
Is there a policy requiring upgrading?
The University's Information Security Policy and Standards require users to run systems that are free from vulnerabilities. XP will not be permitted without an exception granted by the UMS CIO. Faculty and staff should no longer access University email or other systems using employee-owned PCs running Windows XP.
What is different about this end-of-support?
Although any unsupported software is target for hackers, XP represents the largest base of computers that will be without support in history. With estimates of more than 250 million computers in the world running XP, the market is lucrative for exploitation. Reports reveal that XP exploits are worth as much as $50,000 in the underground market, and the suspicion is that hackers are holding exploits for release after April 8, when there will no longer be fixes. Furthermore, it is expected that future vulnerabilities found and patched in Windows 7 or Windows 8 will be examined by hackers to determine if there are similar vulnerabilities for the unpatched Windows XP.

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