Windows 7 EoL (End of Life) is coming. As the end of the year quickly approaches the dreaded end of this version of Windows encroaches.
In January 2015, Windows 7 Operating System reached the end of its mainstream support. Microsoft extended mainstream support for Windows 7 until January 2020. Microsoft began focusing on new endeavours such as the release and maintenance of Windows 10. They decided to implement a plan where support for Windows was extended until January 14 2020.
While the deadline approaches there are a good number of users who never made the move to the Windows 10 operating system. They are still relying on this version of the Windows Operating System to operate their machines. There are close to 7 million machines globally that still rely on Windows 7. Many of them are corporate computers or other machines.
Many businesses fell foul of this when Windows XP EoL occurred.
What does End of Life (EoL) mean for Window 7 Users?
Windows 7 EOL is usually a term used among IT professionals. It refers to when the software designer (in this case Microsoft) stops the provisions of
- Bug fixes
- Security updates
- Patches for Windows
- New functions
You may think that none of this would affect any machine that still runs Windows 7 on. However, your personal security or corporate security is something that Cybercriminals are all too happy to prey upon.
Cybercriminals are constantly vigilant for ways they can exploit a system, especially bugs that exist within a piece of software. Cybercriminals can exploit any bugs they find in order to gain access to your network and by extension your personal information. Cybercriminals that see you’re personally using outdated software will have a fiesta. They will already know the easiest way to exploit weaknesses and security lapses. The same goes for any machine that you use for business purposes and runs on an outdated Windows software.
The more time cybercriminals have to explore your system, the more time they’ll have to improve their techniques. Whereas the software’s ability to fend off such attacks won’t continue to improve.
You are twice as likely to be the victim of a cyber attack compared to a burglary. Especially in a 2017 report where 58% of data breach victims were discovered to be small business owners.
Data breaches are not cheap, with a report clocking in the average cost of a data breach to be £132K. While you wouldn’t leave your home or business unprotected, even in a quiet neighbourhood, you should avoid doing the same when it comes to your computer’s security. Leaving your machines wide open to anyone with a desire to get to your personal information.
Unfortunately, cybercriminals have developed their techniques over the years. They’ve developed strategies to cope with the rising number of attempts to protect machines. Many cybercriminals make a fortune off of selling their knowledge to other criminals.
Cybercriminals who manage to turn their crimes into a business do so by largely remaining unnoticed and avoiding capture. They avoid attacking large companies that have the money and manpower to go after them. companies that have spent a considerable amount attempting to keep cybercriminals out of their personal data. These companies have the monetary means to track down criminals that do manage to crack into their personal data and networks.
Instead, cybercriminals merely attack small and medium-sized businesses that can’t afford the same protection as larger companies. Attacking numerous smaller companies nets the same amount as one large company with less the risk of detection. Many companies that get attacked don’t realise it until it’s too late. And are often targets of the same crime multiple times until the alarm bells are raised.
But what if we don’t use credit card systems or payment portals, why should we worry?
The approaches that criminals use vary depending on skill and experience. Even if you don’t use a credit card system or payment portal your security may still be vulnerable to attacks. There are various negative outcomes that a business could suffer just from allowing undetected visitors onto a network. Consequences that extend beyond the theft of money:
Theft of personal data:
This could lead to the damaging of your brand’s image that you’ve worked tirelessly to cultivate. It also leaves you open to compensation claims and lawsuits from customers whose data has been stolen in an attack.
Accessing built-in cameras in desktops and laptops:
Criminals can watch as you type in passwords thus giving them full access to your system and network. This can lead to criminals resetting your entire network including usernames and passwords. This causes disruption in even small businesses and requires each person to remember the new credentials created for them.
Record your keystrokes to capture usernames and passwords:
Many cybercriminals will steal not only usernames but passwords as well in order to sell them for profit to other criminals. This leaves you vulnerable to future attacks.
Intrusions on to other business networks that you work with or are partnered with:
In case of an attack, it can be traced back to your network. This leaves you open to footing the bill for the other companies’ losses on top of your own.
Alterations made to bank details or other sensitive information found in emails:
This potentially damages long-lasting relationships when you hound customers for payments that you haven’t received. In this case, the customers pay the criminals instead of you. Thus, leaving both you and the customers out of pocket. This can result in cancellations while the victims attempt to recover their funds. These attempts can take considerable time through the authorities or insurance claims.
Cybercriminals can make threats to crash your server or delete your important files.
Avoid Losing Windows 7 Support
Fixing the weakness that cybercriminals exploit is the number one step. After January 14 2020, sourcing help directly from Microsoft can incur hefty bills.
It’s recommended for users to upgrade or replace your system before support ends for it. You can upgrade to Windows 10 Pro for extended support until at least January 2023. By doing so, you’ll continue to receive important bug fixes, security patches, and more. Plus, you will benefit from the additional functions from Windows 10 and other software upgrades, such as collaborative working.
Greenpoint is experts in security and migrations from older Windows software to newer versions like Windows 10. The period where you could upgrade to Windows 10 for free has unfortunately passed.
Greenpoint can help you make the move for the most cost-effective rate. We have already helped numerous clients who are seeking to make the switch before support ends. We want to help you avoid making mistakes as well. When it comes to protecting your system take matters into your own hands.