Still Using Windows 7? Malware Is Out to Get You

Windows 7 was a revolutionary operating system. It has garnered users’ attention and love thanks to its many innovative features. When it came out, it was a comprehensive software solution. It was modern, interactive, and had a great design. But that was more than ten years ago.

Microsoft has been upgrading and updating its operating systems, but Windows 7 is no longer the users’ favorite. And since it’s not compatible with the latest technological advances, the company decided to end Windows 7 support.

But some people are still using this operating system. For them, the end of Windows 7 support will bring on a lot of security issues and vulnerabilities.

Windows 7 Security Issues and How to Fix Them

Microsoft has announced that they have ended Windows 7 support on January 14, 2020. That means Windows 7 users will no longer receive security and software updates. It leaves them exposed and vulnerable.

It is particularly worrisome for companies that have a large number of computers that still run on Windows 7. If they haven’t migrated to Windows 10 by now, they will have to work extra hard to keep their data safe. Here are some tips on how to do it:

1. Educate Your Employees (or Family)

If employees aren’t careful when operating older systems, then the risk of breaches is a lot higher. Another common reason for data theft is the fact that users often save the files in unprotected locations. It’s easier for hackers to install viruses and malware to unpatched systems, so employees need to be even more alert. In the end, the number of vulnerabilities in Windows 7 is only going to increase.

Educating employees (or family) will ensure that they are following the best cybersecurity practices. They will know how and where to save sensitive information or how to spot phishing attacks and understand the impact of malware.

2. Run Remaining Patches

Microsoft ended its support for Windows 7 operating system on January 14. But you can still install the patches that have been published before. Many companies suffer from data breaches and hacks because they don't install system updates and run patches often enough. In fact, according to Security Boulevard, 60% of data breach victims could have prevented the attack by installing patches that had already been available.

3. Back-Up All Your Data

Cybercriminals usually rely on the fact that paying a ransom is the easiest option to regain access to one’s files. That’s why digital exploits, such as ransomware, are so common. But by backing up your data in a secure location, you can ensure that your files are safe and accessible at all times.

Moreover, even if you decided to pay the ransom, the chances of getting your data back are very slim. That is yet another reason to consider file backup. And using encryption along with it is the ultimate solution.

4. Use Cybersecurity Solutions

Everyone still using Windows 7 should also employ cybersecurity software, such as a VPN service and antimalware programs.

VPNs will create an extra layer of security by encrypting your internet connection and masking your IP address. It leaves less room for exploitation. Meanwhile, antimalware and antivirus software scans your devices for malware and viruses and deals with these threats.

There are many different solutions out there. You can test the software through an antivirus or VPN free trial and purchase the most suitable option.

Why You Should Consider Upgrading to Windows 10

It can be expensive, bothersome, and complicated to migrate devices to newer software. Especially if you need to upgrade the computers of the entire company. But it is still vital to do so because that way, you will have fewer issues in the long run.

In today’s era of ransomware, be mindful of how you treat your data. WannaCry is a perfect example of how outdated software can have severe consequences for a company. In fact, nearly all WannaCry victims were using computers that were running on Windows 7. So even if you implement all security measures listed above, the chances of getting attacked are reasonably higher.

Windows 10 is a more comprehensive solution in many ways. It follows all the latest industry standards. Plus, and it often gets security updates and patches that mitigate risks and keep the users safe. Moreover, Windows 10 has terrific built-in security features. They can often reduce the need for purchasing additional software. Also, Windows 10 is much faster, more secure, has a better UI/UX, and all newer devices support it.

The Bottom Line

Operating systems are so prone to exploitation, and everyone should be diligent with how they handle their data. Data breaches happen all the time. They have enormous negative impacts on the reputation of businesses. And they can do much damage to individuals too.

So update your Windows 7 operating system as soon as possible. Before you do, be extra alert about what you click and download online. Malware is out there to get you, and it has a lot more chances of succeeding if you are still using Windows 7.

Photo: Reuters/Shannon Stapleton

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