Network Security & Windows 7 End of Life – What Do You Need to Know?
January 14th this year was the official Windows 7 end of life date. This means that Windows 7 no longer receives critical security updates. What, though, does this mean for your home or business network security?
Is it still safe to use Windows 7? According to the National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC), the answer is a simple no. Here, we’ll look at why this is the case, and what you need to do to keep your home or business PCs secure.
Windows 7 End of Life Network Security Risks and How to Avoid Them
What January’s Windows 7 end of life date means is simple. Any home or business PC still running Windows 7, will no longer receive critical security updates.
Put even more simply, if hackers or malware creators discover new ways to breach the security of Windows 7, vulnerabilities will not receive security fixes from Microsoft. Evidence also suggests that this is already happening.
Malware Attacks Post Windows 7 End of Life
- In February, a month after the official Windows 7 end of life date, there was already a 125% increase in malware attacks on computers still running Windows 7.
- 54% of new PC and network security exploits target business computers still running Windows 7.
- Despite most new exploits targeting business PCs, consumer PCs are almost twice as likely to fall victim to malware attacks.
Because Microsoft will no longer be updating Windows 7, it is imperative to update PCs to either Windows 8.1, Windows 10, or an alternative Linux operating system. For further advice on how to achieve this, we offer a free consultation.
Is it safe to use Windows 7 After 2020?
Findings from this year’s Webroot Threat Report, show that most new Windows 7 malware infections attempt to hide in Windows 7 temp, app data, cache, and windir folders.
Usually, infections occur when PC users accidentally download malicious files. However, hostile IP addresses can also attempt to force malicious file downloads, by taking advantage of out of date network security protocols and PC web browsers.
One temporary way to prevent malware infections on Windows 7, is to set your Windows firewall to block all incoming Internet connections. Windows 7 users can also create a new Windows policy that prevents files from executing from places like the Windows temp folder.
- Only use an up to date (and still supported) web browser.
- Install an effective anti-virus like Bit Defender.
- Instead of an administrator account, only use a user account on your PC when performing everyday tasks.
You Will Still Need to Update Your OS to protect your Network Security
Sadly, implementing new Windows policies and tweaking firewalls is only a very temporary security solution for Windows 7. Neither is continuing to use Windows 7 advisable for any business or individual storing sensitive files on computers.
Because new PC and network security threats are emerging every day, the only way to fully prevent malware infections is to update to a new operating system as soon as possible. This can, of course, incur high costs. However, if you can’t afford a Windows 10 license just yet, you may want to try using a free Linux OS like Ubuntu instead.
Worried that your Network Security is not safe?
Our friendly experts are always on hand should you wish to discuss what this means for your business, contact us today to find out more.