by MTHULISI SIBANDA
JOHANNESBURG – AS of January 14, a quarter of the world’s personal computers (PCs) will be more vulnerable to ransomware as Windows 7 end of life.
Microsoft ended mainstream support of Windows 7 in 2015, giving users five years to ready themselves for the software to reach end of life.
According to experts, 26 percent of PCs are expected to still be running the Microsoft software after support for patches and bug fixes end.
In light of this, industry expert, Veritas, has urged businesses running Windows 7 to prepare themselves in order to avoid the impact that vulnerability to ransomware could have on their organisations.
Among other tips, Veritas recommended the education of employees, evaluate of risk by companies to understand their data, software upgrades and backing up data among others.
Ian Wood, Senior Director, EMEA Cloud and Governance Business Practice at Veritas, said it was vital that the organisations that rely on Windows 7 are aware of the risks and what they need to mitigate them.
“So, it’s critical for those running Windows 7 to act now and put plans in place to ensure that they are able to protect themselves,” he said.
“Organisations need to understand their data and make sure that information is being stored in the right place where it can be protected and made available when needed.”
The vulnerability to ransomware of PCs running unsupported software was demonstrated by the WannaCry virus in 2017.
Despite supported PCs being pushed patches for the cryptoworm, Europol estimated that 200 000 devices in 150 countries, running older, unsupported, software became infected by WannaCry.
Although just $130 000 was paid in ransoms, the impact to business is understood to have run into the billions of dollars due to lost productivity, lost data, and corrupted hardware.
“WannaCry was a clear example of the dangers that businesses can face when they are using software that has reached end of life,” Wood said.
– CAJ News