Dangers Ahead In Microsoft Dismissal Of Windows XP


Stewart said extended third-party Windows XP support is available, giving businesses technical and security assistance. "Custom support should be considered an avenue of last resort to help bridge the gap during a migration process to a modern OS, as the newest technologies provide the optimal chance to be and stay secure," Stewart said.

In addition to buying custom support, businesses also can deploy the Enhanced Mitigation Experience Toolkit (EMET) to bolster security capabilities in Windows XP. Companies also can consider whitelisting technology, locking down endpoint systems to only run trusted software. Simply using up-to-date antivirus is not an effective option, Stewart said.

"Running antimalware is not a great solution because it struggles to address threats targeting exposed vulnerabilities," Stewart said. "Antimalware products are less effective over time, so the system is still vulnerable even though the antimalware is running."

The problem also extends to other systems that use Windows XP at their core. Point-of-sale systems, healthcare devices and some manufacturing systems can be impacted, said Christopher Strand, a senior solutions consultant and compliance specialist for Bit9. Channel providers should be having a conversation with their clients, Strand said.

Strand said organizations should do a thorough assessment to gain visibility into the company's architecture and understand the systems running Windows XP. Organizations that haven't begun to migrate should develop a strategy on how to extend past the deadline, he said. Bolster incident response plans to deal with the fallout of going past the support cycle to deal with additional malware infections, Strand said.

PUBLISHED OCT. 29, 2013