Why not Windows XP?

Windows-XP-screenshotWhy not Windows XP? A reader asks…

I have a Windows XP computer that’s still working, and I’m not convinced that I need to upgrade to a new computer. All I do is email and surf the internet. No online shopping, banking or social networking, and I don’t have anything on my computer that I consider personal. My computer is slow and a bit cumbersome, but I don’t see why I can’t just keep using it until it no longer works.

Perhaps you haven’t been paying attention to news about hackers and such, but the sad truth in today’s internet-connected environment is that hackers are very organized and take control over computers like yours to perpetrate attacks on others. Microsoft abandoned updating the Windows XP operating system (mainstream support in 2009, everything else in 2014). So your computer is woefully unable to stop malware attacks.

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The hackers are quite sophisticated, what they do is install software on your computer that runs in the background. You never know what it’s doing, all you notice is that your computer is a bit slower than it used to be. What’s happening in the background is that your computer is now doing work on behalf of the hacker. Your computer has become a part of a botnet, one of thousands of computers the hacker controls. Computer security folks call this a ‘zombie computer‘. Since your computer is connected to the internet, the hacker can order your computer to attack any other computer on the internet – government, corporate, even the computers of your email correspondents.

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So my strong recommendation is for you to ditch that ancient computer, and switch to something that can’t be easily hacked. Certainly you could upgrade to a Windows 10 computer, or you could keep things simple and just switch to an iPad for your email and web-surfing. Either way, you should disconnect that Windows XP computer from the internet asap. I can’t guarantee that it’s been hacked, but it is probable that it has.

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