As I write this today, Windows XP is patched against known Microsoft security vulnerabilities.
But as of next Tuesday (13 May 2014) that will no longer be the case.
Because next Tuesday, Microsoft will be releasing its regular bundle of security patches and – in all probability – there will be Windows vulnerabilities fixed on that day which will remain unpatched on the unloved Windows XP platform.
And it would be no surprise at all if malicious hackers reverse-engineered Microsoft’s fixes and explored how to exploit on Windows XP security flaws that are fixed on the likes of Windows 7.
You can’t really blame Microsoft that much. It *did* give Windows XP users fair warning (seven years warning in fact) that it would be no longer supporting or providing XP security patches after April 8 2014.
Yes, Microsoft did backtrack a little of course, which might have added to some people’s confusion. When it issued an emergency patch for Internet Explorer – and even rolled out a fix for XP – earlier this month it did send a rather mixed message.
So, allow me to direct the next bit at Microsoft:
Hey Microsoft, are you going to keep your word and dump XP or not?
By providing that emergency Internet Explorer patch for XP *after* you had told the world you wouldn’t release a security fix ever again for the platform, you undermined every IT staff member who was trying to get their company to wake up to the impending problem and upgrade their systems.
It’s time for the world to get rid of Windows XP. And it’s time for Microsoft to make an honest clean break and not release any more fixes for XP.
I’m not saying it’s going to be pretty, and there will – undoubtedly – be organisations and home users who struggle to handle the switch to a more modern, patched version of Windows.
But it is time for you to stay true to your word, and send a clear message to everyone using Windows XP that they really must upgrade their operating system – whether it be to a more recent version of Windows, or something different.