Feeds

Microsoft issues less-than-helpful tips to XP holdouts

Don't click on bad stuff and back up a lot, Redmond tells refuseniks

The next step in data security

Microsoft seems to have realised what most everyone figured out years ago: come April 9 there will still be millions upon millions of computers running Windows XP and therefore open to all sorts of potential attacks.

Redmond's recognition of the problem appears in a new ”Cyber threats to Windows XP and guidance for Small Businesses and Individual Consumers” document, that identifies five likely risks XP holdouts will face and offers advice on how they might be ameliorated.

Here's the list of threats and our translation of Microsoft's answer:

Risk Mitigation Flaw in Microsoft's argument
1. Surfing the Net Just don't visit any dangerous websites You don't know upgrading from XP is a good idea and you're expected to know how to avoid a dodgy website?
2. Malware links in email and IM Don't click See above
3. Removable drives can carry malware Don't plug in any USB storage Not even this stick my grandson says has cute cat photos on it?
4. Worms targeting 0-days we won't fix Review your firewall exceptions WTF? Who threw the switch from general consumer advice to sysadmin-land?
5. Ransomware Back up more often so you can do a clean reinstall But what if my backup is on the USB device you warned against in Risk 3?

If you never connect to a network, Microsoft's mitigations would probably mean you could use your XP machine safely. For the rest of us, learning about firewall exceptions looks like the best alternative, unless you are willing to follow Microsoft's oft-uttered advice that the best thing XP users can do is go buy a new computer as soon as is feasible.

Or install Linux, an operating system utterly likely to leave an XP machine eminently usable and secure. Whether many of the kind of folks who need the kind of advice Microsoft is now dishing out would find Linux an equivalent experience is a matter for other minds to consider. In the comments, perhaps? ®

New hybrid storage solutions

More from The Register

next story
PORTAL TO ELSEWHERE scried in small galaxy far, far away
Supermassive black hole dominates titchy star formation
Bacon-related medical breakthrough wins Ig Nobel prize
Is there ANYTHING cured pork can't do?
Boffins say they've got Lithium batteries the wrong way around
Surprises at the nano-scale mean our ideas about how they charge could be all wrong
Edge Research Lab to tackle chilly LOHAN's final test flight
Our US allies to probe potential Vulture 2 servo freeze
Europe prepares to INVADE comet: Rosetta landing site chosen
No word yet on whether backup site is labelled 'K'
Stray positrons caught on ISS hint at DARK MATTER source
Landlubber scope-gazers squint to horizons and see anti-electron count surge
Cracked it - Vulture 2 power podule fires servos for 4 HOURS
Pixhawk avionics juice issue sorted, onwards to Spaceport America
prev story

Whitepapers

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops
Balancing user privacy and privileged access, in accordance with compliance frameworks and legislation. Evaluating any potential remote control choice.
WIN a very cool portable ZX Spectrum
Win a one-off portable Spectrum built by legendary hardware hacker Ben Heck
Intelligent flash storage arrays
Tegile Intelligent Storage Arrays with IntelliFlash helps IT boost storage utilization and effciency while delivering unmatched storage savings and performance.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?
Beginner's guide to SSL certificates
De-mystify the technology involved and give you the information you need to make the best decision when considering your online security options.