Windows XP scams target unsupported enterprise systems

Windows XP scams are already targeting enterprises, just weeks after Microsoft dropped support for the operating system (OS) on April 8. It comes as no surprise: last year Microsoft predicted that XP infections would rise 66% in April after the legacy operating system's demise.

And things are going to get worse. It is thought that over time, attackers will evolve malicious software, websites and phishing attacks to take advantage of newly discovered vulnerabilities in Windows XP.

The threats

Now the April 8 deadline has passed, Windows XP is therefore extremely vulnerable. Hackers are very much aware of this and are already starting to take advantage of businesses running the software.

As a result, scams and fake software updates have started to emerge through social media, forums and video sharing sites. One recently seen threat comes through YouTube videos that profess to be related to Microsoft and XP, but are in fact pushing adware and viruses. One of these is a malicious “Media Centre” which pushes other applications that damage the performance of the software.

Enterprise risks

One of the biggest risks is your employees: if you are still running XP, staff are able to unwittingly click on links and download malicious software. It's therefore integral to educate your staff.

Additionally, many enterprises have unidentified legacy machines that are still running XP: these could be used for certain applications and as they were previously automatically updated, could go unnoticed.

It's therefore important to identify the machines still running XP and isolate them from the network. This will help prevent the spread of infection to your other systems.

As attacks on XP become increasingly commonplace, it is essential that enterprises upgrade as soon as possible. If some or all of your machines are still running the legacy OS, you can take advantage of services from vendors such as Dell, which can halve the time taken to migrate.

Copyright © 2014 IDG Communications, Inc.

Shop Tech Products at Amazon