SALT LAKE CITY (ABC 4 Utah) – After 12 long years today Microsoft is saying goodbye to Windows XP. Tuesday is the last day the company says it’s supporting the popular operating system in order to focus on its new programs.
While users can still run Windows XP after today Microsoft will no longer provide security updates or any kind of technical support.
Best Buy Assistant Store Manager Gabriel Perez told ABC 4 Utah, "Often you'll see notifications on your computer saying ‘hey, I need to install some newest upgrades.’ What they do is patch specific vulnerabilities as well as performance increases. So what that means is they're going to stop supporting that and you'll stop seeing those updates."
That could open you up to security threats like viruses and hackers.
"Potentially you could lose your data; you could lose your info that's on your computer and most importantly your identity,” explained Perez.
While there's no exact count on how many are still using Windows XP, it's estimated that anywhere from 25 to 30 percent of computers being used by businesses and consumers around the world are still running on the 12-year-old operating system.
Matthew Might, University of Utah Assistant Professor in the School of Computing told ABC 4 Utah, "The top three that I’m most concerned about are first of all government, specifically the military, they're big users of XP. Hospitals are big users of XP and banks are big users of XP."
For our hospitals that could mean an increase of attacks on medical devises, and for the military Might says, it opens the door for a possible weapons system shutdown.
"I think as the shift from very theoretical to very practical it's only a matter of time before this actually starts to happen in reality,” said Might.
As far as banks go, around 95% of all ATMs still run on Windows XP, but unlike you or I, the banks and the government are paying Microsoft lots of money to keep up their operating systems while a shift is made.
Might says the cost companies or consumers will pay to upgrade their systems is nothing compared to what they could lose if they don't.
"Anybody who thinks they could save some money by not upgrading will be sorely mistaken,” said Might. “I mean they're putting their entire business at risk at this point."