Cybersecurity | November 12, 2019

What Are the Windows 7 Security Risks?

Are you nervous about the security risks that Windows 7 end of life exposes? It’s time to flush out the facts, so you can be armed with all the pertinent information to move forward.

As some of you may know, on January 14th, 2020, Microsoft will no longer be providing security updates or support for PCs operating on Windows 7. Microsoft has been advertising the Windows 7 expiration date for the past few years leading up to the present.

This Is Not a Drill

If you are brushing off the severity of the Windows 7 security risks, here’s a few things you should be aware of before its looming end of life date.

#1 Windows 7 will be wormable

After January 14th, 2020, Windows 7 security risks will greatly increase because there will no longer be user interaction required for access. Meaning, if you are still running on Windows 7, your computer can be easily exploited by hackers through the software.

#2 Expired programs spread malware

This should go without saying, but any expired program has an increased risk of spreading malware because it is no longer receiving security updates and patches from developers.

#3 Compliance

There are security rules many organizations must follow regarding compliance. If you are still running Windows 7 past its expiration date, your business will no longer be compliant.

#4 Compatibility

As time goes on, Windows 7 may not be compatible with other upgraded applications on your computer. Secondly, depending on the software you use and equipment you have running with the Windows 7 program, you could experience work disruptions and downtime after Windows 7 croaks.

#5 Hackers have this information

Microsoft has been talking about Windows 7’s security risks for years now. This is giving hackers a huge advantage to prepare for its expiration and research all the possible vulnerabilities. Historically, we’ve seen this happen with the WannaCry attack of 2017.

#6 Your antivirus won’t save you

Won’t my antivirus still protect my computer if I’m running Windows 7? The short answer is no. Windows 7 security risks will still be present with or without the use of an antivirus. As cybersecurity grows more complex, using antivirus as your standalone security infrastructure isn’t wise. Antivirus can detect viruses based on signatures, but it cannot detect new variants. Therefore, a cyberthreat can easily move past your first line of defense without any complications.

#7 Losing your data

By running an expired and vulnerable program like Windows 7, you are opening the gates to cyberattacks. If there is one thing that a cybercriminal knows, it’s that data is gold. Can you imagine someone encrypting all the data you have hosted through Windows 7?

Windows 7 Security Risks Matter

Why are we so hung up on Windows 7’s security risks? Well, even though this information has been circling for years, about 36% of active PC users are still running on Windows 7. As the clock starts counting down to 2020, people are going to be flooding the market upgrading their computers, hard drives, and more to prepare for their company’s Windows 10 upgrade. So, if you are planning on upgrading to Windows 10 and think your current operating systems are too old to handle the upgrade, it’s best to get things in motion now.

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