XP and Explorer — New Security Flaws

Windows XP is DOA for computer interconnection.  But it's use doesn't need to end.
Windows XP is DOA for computer interconnection. But it’s use doesn’t need to end.

I’m asked time and again what owners can expect for continuing use of Windows XP.  My advice is mixed.  But on one point I think we’ve finally crossed the boarder of permissible use.

Over the weekend news emerged that the Microsoft Internet Explorer browser has a newly “Discovered” security flaw across several versions — I it exists in IE versions 8 to 11.

The Microsoft Website says:

“…technical assistance for Windows XP is no longer available, including automatic updates that help protect your PC.Microsoft has also stopped providing Microsoft Security Essentials for download on Windows XP.”

Windows XP is no longer supported.  And updates for the issues with browsers for that OS — regardless of Maker or Date or Version will be inherently unsafe to use in any context.

  • Do not use XP for Browsing
  • Do not use XP for Emailing
  • Do not use XP for Word Processing (or any MS Office product)
  • Moving files to and from the machine by disk or thumb-drive is risky and requires security scanning of the files.

Things that you might consider using XP for — if it is completely off line:

  • Operating a bank of security cameras — that are cabled together.
  • Operating a range of electro / mechanical systems — gates, conveyors, window shades, indoor/outdoor lighting timers
  • Operating sensors — temperature and other environmental regulator equipment in a greenhouse for instance.

The bottom line — is that if you operate your XP machine you should go into the hardware profile and disable the ethernet ports — both physical (Category 5 cable) and wireless (WiFi and BlueTooth.)

If you’re forced to move files on an off the system by “sneaker net” — that is by physical media — scan files going on and scan them coming off.

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