On April 8, Microsoft ended support for the Windows XP operating system and will no longer provide updates, including security and critical patches, for the operating system. As a result, a computer running Windows XP now has a greater chance of being vulnerable to virus and security threats.
Office computers using XP:
Information technology service providers at York have been working with the community for many months to migrate computers from Windows XP to Windows 7. If you are using Windows XP on your administrative computer then it is important to contact your local desktop support.
Home and personal computers using XP:
- Avoid using the XP computer for surfing websites or reading your e-mail, as these are the most common ways computers are infected by viruses and other malware. Otherwise, only visit well-known, bookmarked or favourite sites and do not open attachments or click on links in e-mail.
- Ensure that Windows XP firewall is turned on. For further information, visit Microsoft Windows XP Knowledge Base.
- Ensure that Symantec Anti-Virus is installed on the computer and that it is updated and full scans are run regularly.
- Instead of using any Microsoft software that comes pre-installed in your computer such as Internet Explorer, Windows Mail etc., use alternate software such as Firefox (browser) or Thunderbird (e-mail reader). It is important to remember that Microsoft will not provide any further patches for any software that comes pre-installed with your Windows XP machine.
- Keep all applications up to date, including Adobe Acrobat, Adobe Flash, Java etc.
- Use an account that does NOT have administrator privileges. If an account with administrator privileges is compromised then the hacker/attacker can compromise the entire computer. For further information, visit Microsoft Windows XP Knowledge Base.
- Download and install Microsoft’s Enhanced Mitigation Experience Toolkit (EMET). This can prevent some (not all) vulnerabilities from being exploited.
NOTE: In spite of following all the suggestions above, your Windows XP computer may still not be safe from future virus and security threats. Upgrading to a supported version of Microsoft Windows or any other operating system will be the best way to help secure your computer and data.