WARNING: If you haven't upgraded to Windows 10, your PC is now under threat
14th January 2020
Windows 7 has now entered its 'end of life'. Business and individuals with PCs running on Windows 7 will no longer receive technical assistance, software patches and security updates from Microsoft.
If you are still using Windows 7, like almost a quarter of all users online, you are effectively using a dead operating system. While your PC will continue to work, you will be stuck with an operating system that no longer gets patched. Any vulnerabilities uncovered by cyber criminals will not be fixed – and your PC (and more importantly, the personal data on it) could be hacked by attackers, or locked down in a serious ransomware attack. The global WannaCry ransomware attack of May 2017 demonstrated how vulnerable machines that haven't received security updates can be to hackers.
Such is the potential risk posed by this that the UK's National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) – the cyber arm of the GCHQ intelligence service – has issued a warning over the continued use of Windows 7 PCs and laptops, telling users they shouldn't use Windows 7 devices when accessing personal data.
The NCSC encourages people to upgrade devices currently running Windows 7, allowing them to continue receiving software updates that help protect their devices, "We would urge those using the software after the deadline of 14th January 2020, to replace unsupported devices as soon as possible, to move sensitive data to a supported device and not to use them for tasks like accessing bank and other sensitive accounts. They should also consider accessing email from a different device."
Ensuring good cyber hygiene as well as ensuring the updating of a good anti-virus solution, becomes even more critical to an organisation if it continues to use an unsupported operating system.