Microsoft is reminding its enterprise clientele: the eight-year-old Windows 7 will be losing support in 2020; a repeat of Windows XP, will be sad for everyone involved.
The Extended Support
Support for Windows 7 is technically over; the OS ran out of the mainstream support cycle in January of 2015. Today, it’s under an extended support period that will end on 14th of January, 2020. Once the date is passed, the users of Windows 7 will be on their own – much like the case with Windows XP.
The extended support period only provides major bug fixes and security updates – the latter, is the most significant bit.
The lack of security updates can prove to be quite a major problem; one that Microsoft can handle, but for a (hefty) fee. Microsoft does this for the few enterprise and government clients who are still running Windows XP. These updates, however, are not made public, which means everyone else remains at risk.
The security issues don’t only end there; even today, Windows 10 appears to be a more secure operating system; per Microsoft’s security researchers, two zero-day exploits that recently affected Windows 7 would have been futile against Windows 10, due to its improved in-built security features.
Microsoft’s Windows Defender security team tested the Windows 10 Anniversary Update against CVE-2016-7255 – a zero-day exploit used by the Fancy Bear hackers in October. The Russian-speaking hackers used this exploit on Windows 7 and targeted several political figures, as well as telecom and aerospace companies in Ukraine, Spain, Russia, Romania, U.S., and Canada.
The exploit, of course, worked on Windows 7; Microsoft’s researchers claim, however, that the exploit did not work on Windows 10 with the Anniversary Update installed.
The second exploit tested was CVE-2016-7256, which also did not work on Windows 10 with Anniversary Update.
It’s 2017, and the arrow of time won’t be spinning the other way around anytime soon. Security should be of the utmost importance to any enterprise; Windows 10 offers the features and the security, but of course, for a price.
The price, however, is less than the loss; a company that cannot ensure the security of its IT systems risks to lose the trust of the entire industry at large.