Still Have Windows 7?

  • Published: Wednesday, June 3, 2020

Support and security patches have ended for Windows 7. End of support means that these systems are vulnerable to potential risks and exploits, and if the system is running Windows Security Essentials for anti-virus it also means that it will no longer receive updates in anti-virus definitions. Estimates show that more than a quarter of endpoints are still running Windows 7. Why?

Often the holdup is due to budgetary restraints or lack of personnel to carry out the task. There can also be a disruption in business continuity during the upgrade.

However, the risks associated with using an old operating system are real. The longer the unpatched system is exposed, the more likely it will become the target of an attack. Cyber crooks will prey upon these vulnerable systems, which could lead to more disruption, loss of data and damage to your reputation.

There are a few things that you can do to try to reduce your risks. These measures should be considered as a temporary and not at all a formidable defense for the long term.

  • Update all third-party software on the device, including browsers. Keeping software patched and up-to-date will definitely close the gap on some targeted systems.
  • Identify the Windows 7 devices on your network. Use segmentation to separate these devices from the rest of the network. This will help to contain the threat.
  • Disable services that attackers like to take advantage of. Disable remote desktop protocol (RDP).

Make a plan to migrate to a supported operating system as soon as possible. To suffer an attack due to the vulnerabilities of an end-of-life OS is far worse than working through the challenges of an upgrade.

Resources:
Windows 7 End of Life: Everything You Need to Know About the Death of Windows 7

Writer: Kathy Bellew