Starting today, Windows XP users will no longer get security patches and other technical support from Microsoft, unless they’re part of an exclusive group of governments and businesses — including Canada’s federal government — paying for “custom support.”
Microsoft released its final official security patch for the 12-year-old operating system Tuesday and is officially ending support for XP.
“End of support means there won’t be, after April 8, security updates or non-security hotfixes or any paid or unpaid support options that are provided by Microsoft,” said Marc Aube, Windows consumer marketing lead for Microsoft Canada.
That leaves those still using the operating system – and to some extent the customers and organizations they interact with — increasingly vulnerable to attacks from cybercriminals.
Organizations that need “extra time” to move to a “more modern” operating system such as Windows 7 or Windows 8 can subscribe to Microsoft’s custom support option.
“They will then receive critical security updates as new threats are discovered as well as technical support throughout the length of their contract,” Aube said in an interview with CBCNews.ca.
As of February, one Ottawa security consultant estimated that about half of government and business PCs in Canada still used Windows XP due to the cost of upgrading. According to the web analytics company Net Market Share, as of March, 28 per cent of desktop computers worldwide were still using Windows XP.